In April of 2007, police officers were called to investigate a possible meth lab operation located in a condominium. As a result of that investigation as well as an additional meth lab investigation, the police union filed a grievance against the city of Pullup. Their grievance resulted in the city being cited on 6 violations that were based on inadequate protection of those officers against the hazardous chemicals involved with meth lab investigations.
The Union’s grievance was filed based on the facts that the officers were sent in to the condo without anyone making sure they were wearing protective clothing and equipment, despite the fact that no testing of the air had been done inside the condo. Additionally, no one made sure that the police officers as well as the suspects that were removed from the condo were decontaminated once they left the meth lab.
Through the efforts of The Department of Labor and Industries, the city won’t be required to pay $1,500 in fine for the six serious violations that it was charged with in December 2007. Instead the city will be charged with four general violations; violations that do not involve any charges related to serious injury or death. The agreed upon settlement will also eliminate any further time and money being spent on litigation.
As part of the deal, Pullyup will let the Pierce County Clandestine Laboratory Team take all of its meth lab calls. The County Lab Team is comprised of 21 sheriff’s deputies and 18 officers from municipal police departments. Pullyup has agreed to send two of their officers to join the county team and are now in the process of selecting those officers. Tacoma is now the only city in Washington that is still handling thier own meth lab calls, as all other cities rely on the Pierce County Clandestine Lab Team.
Both the police Union and the City of Pullup are happy with the settlement terms. The Union achieved what they hoped to achieve by insuring that the health and safety of the officers attending to meth labs in Pullyup are protected. The City achieved what they hoped to achieve by getting the charges reduced and finding a safer alternative to addressing any meth labs found there.
References: Santos, Melissa, Pullyup Meth Team to Disband, The News Tribune, 11/30/2008