(File photo)

Vancouver police ask for $700,000 drug-testing facility in wake of opiod crisis

‘It wouldn’t surprise me if we would see officers come across [fentanyl] on a daily basis:’ spokesman

Vancouver police have asked the city for $700,000 to prevent officers from being exposed to harmful substances like fentanyl.

The department is looking to building a new facility to test drugs they seize, especially with the sharp rise in the amount of fentanyl officers encounter on the streets.

“We are paving the way for this, so we are one of the first,” spokesperson Sgt. Jason Robillard said. “But this may be something other police departments might be looking at.”

Robillard declined to say how many officers have been exposed to the opioid, citing privacy concerns, but did say it “wouldn’t surprise” him if officers were coming across it every day.

He said the facility would be a controlled environment, with fume hoods, an emergency shower and a monitoring system, allowing officers to shut off air vents to the rest of the facility should an issue arise.

The force already takes precautions when dealing with fentanyl both on the street and inside its current facilities.

“If there’s an officer who comes into contact with some substance, out of an abundance of caution we take them to a hospital,” Robillard said, noting that it happens “quite a bit.”

Vancouver Coastal Health has the highest number of illicit drug-related overdose deaths this year so far.

According to a proposed 2018 budget, the facility would be the department’s major capital project for the year.

One portion of the funding, $500,000, would go towards construction and $200,000 would go towards outfitting the containment facility with equipment.

City council is expected to vote on the 2018 budget in a meeting Wednesday morning.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Biting and jumping are paw-sitives when raising a police dog puppy

18-week-old Maya is training with Delta police to one day take a bite out of crime

B.C. serves up $6.3 million boost to province’s respite program

The announcement, in Surrey, aims to give parents of special needs children a break

Hundial the latest councillor to split from McCallum’s Safe Surrey Coalition

Councillor says the mayor dissolving the public safety committee was the ‘final straw’ for him

Schedule released for South Surrey-hosted Americas Olympic Softball Qualifier

Canadian national women’s fastpitch team to open tournament against Cuba

OUR VIEW: Sometimes, Surrey, it’s hard not to get riled by rules

Imagine life without rules. We wouldn’t have to pay taxes, or eat our broccoli

Rents in most Canadian cities are unaffordable for lower-income earners: study

Roughly one-third of households, or 4.7 million, are renters

Chiefs honour Indigenous leader wrongfully hanged in B.C. 154 years ago today

Chief Joe Alphonse says they want his remains returned to his homeland in B.C.’s Cariboo region

Rare white ravens spotted again on Vancouver Island

Nature photographer Mike Yip said mysterious birds back in Coombs area

B.C. government seeks advice on reviving Interior forest industry

Public website opens as meetings start with community leaders

RCMP use helicopter and police dog to search for suspect on Sts’ailes First Nation

Small reserve near Agassiz surrounded by police vehicles, helicopter, ERT

North Delta happenings: week of July 18

Events and community listings for North Delta

Missing Vancouver Island woman believed to be on mainland

Rhonda Stevenson, 43, last seen July 13 in central Nanaimo

Psychics, drones being used to search for missing Chilliwack woman with dementia

Drones, psychics, dogs and more have been employed to help find Grace Baranyk, 86

Missing Greater Victoria man last seen in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

Jonah Donato, 40, travelled to the mainland in June

Most Read