After spending the summer on bikes I have been back in my patrol car for the past month. I have forgotten the joys entering people’s homes on 911 calls. This month I’ve been to two good bloody suicide attempts. One where we found a girl, with knife in hand, sitting in a bloody bathtub. More recently we responded to another cutter, this time with scissors. We were able to talk the guy out without incident. While one of the officers on scene was securing the apartment and gathering up some of the guys things to take to the hospital, he got stuck by something as he brushed past the bed. A small pick that the guy said he used to clean out his weed pipe punctured my partner’s calf. The needle, that looked like some sort of dental instrument or burglary tool was covered in grime and grit. The apartment was unkept and disgusting, like the majority of places we respond to. With two babies at home to worry about, the officer went to the hospital for an exposure treatment. “The worst thing about getting stuck with one needle” he told us the next day, “is having to get stuck with eight more at the hospital.” Luckily the suicidal guy with coagulated blood dangling from his arm submitted to a blood test and the results were negative for any souvenirs, namely hep c.
My wife gets annoyed when people ask her how she does it, being married to someone who does something so dangerous. Last year was especially dangerous for law enforcement with events like the Lakewood Shooting gaining national attention. On a side note, you can check out an official after action report at Spartan Cops here. The real dangers of the job are often overlooked by the general public who gain their law enforcement expertise from that cable channel playing Law and Order twenty hours a day. We are far more likely to suffer an exposure from a stray needle or other particulate emanating from a suspect in any manner of ways. I’ve been at the hospital enough times with an officer for exposure to know the risk of contracting AIDS or HIV are pretty low and I really don’t stress about getting it. What I worry most about is Hep C and some nasty Staph infection, which are both far more prevelant and easier to bring home.