Portland Police Department gets needle-proof gear

Local News

PORTLAND, Tenn. (WKRN) — Patrolling the streets of Portland, Sergeant Charles Hope says his job is dangerous.

“Usually once or twice a night, we’ll come across someone who has something on them,” Hope said.

Hope says the danger isn’t just from the threat of guns or knives but lately, needles.

“You’ll find them in people’s pockets,” Hope said. “You’ll find them tucked in socks.”

“In between seats, glove boxes. I’ve had people stick things in the air vents in cars. You have to look everywhere.”

“The last thing I want to see is one of my officers hurt,” said Chief Anthony Heavner.

Two employees with Portland police have been stuck with needles in the last four months.

“We don’t know who that syringe belonged to,” Heavner said.

It’s a scary thought that pushed Chief Anthony Heavner into action.

His officers and staff are now equipped with syringe-proof gloves, a donation the department received this week.

The gloves were donated by Portland company Unipres.

The value of the donation is worth more than $2,000.

It’s a layer of protection he says they need with the ongoing opioid crisis.

“We’ve had to evolve because of what’s going on,” Heavner said.

Portland police have gotten 23 overdose calls since January.

He says officers come across needles daily.

“What if this person has some type of disease?” the chief said.

It’s a thought that runs across Sgt. Hope’s mind with every search.

“You don’t want to get stuck,” Hope said. “You don’t know what’s in the needle.”

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