Meth Labs Pose Health Dangers to Officers

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Law enforcement officers risk their lives in the line of duty every day. That risk is especially high when it comes to dealing with drug crimes such as meth labs.

Law enforcement officials try to gather as much information as they can before making any drug bust, but being prepared is especially important if they expect to come into contact with methamphetamine.

"There's a lot of hazardous chemicals involved in meth labs," said Lt. Dan Jones with College Station Police.

"There's a lot of safety precautions you have take," said Grimes Sheriff Don Sowell.

That's because meth labs pose particular problems for drug fighters. Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell says the fumes and chemicals needed to make the drugs are both volatile and deadly, but often the only safety equipment worn by officers are masks, gloves and goggles.

"You have a variety of chemicals that are dangerous and toxic and many times they can explode or place people in a dangerous situation," said Sowell.

If the situation is too risky, Sowell he won't hesitate to call in special units like HAZMAT and DPS.

Often times police and sheriff's departments only have one or two experienced drug officers and they're tasked with the ever-changing methamphetamine trends.

In College Station, police have a special unit set up to deal with dangerous drugs.

"They are certified to do meth lab investigations and to handle the hazardous chemicals involved in the manufacturing process. They attend a lot of training on a regular basis to keep up to date on the chemicals being used," said Jones.

So far there have been no reports of officer deaths or illnesses related to meth labs in the Brazos Valley, but officials know all that could change in a flash.