0640.13 Drug Lab Procedures

Administrative Rules Adopted by Bureaus Pursuant to Rule Making Authority (ARB)
Policy number
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  • DIR 220.40 Lawsuits and Claims
  • DIR 631.70 Investigation of Animal Problems
  • DIR 640.10 Crime Scene Procedures
  • DIR 660.10 Property and Evidence Procedures
  • DIR 850.30 Juveniles: Temporary Custody
  • DIR 870.50 Arrest, Felony Processing

PROCEDURE (640.13)

Directive Specific Definitions

Cold Zone: The area immediately outside of the Warm Zone area and is the staging area for media and extra support personnel. Access to this area is limited. This area is not considered contaminated with hazardous chemicals or materials.

Contamination: Any article(s), clothing or person(s) having been in a clandestine drug lab and/or physical contact has been made with a harmful substance/agent. The contact may be made by inhalation or absorption through skin/tissue/mucous membranes.

Decontamination: A process to remove hazardous chemicals or materials from a person or object by washing or other approved means (discarding of contaminated clothing).

Drug labs: Any sites, whether stationary or mobile, containing chemicals normally found in clandestine labs or containing evidence of the manufacture of controlled substances.

Environmental contractor: A private commercial company contracted by the Oregon Department of Air Quality (DEQ) or Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for cleanup.

Hazardous material: Any substance that is dangerous to health by inhalation, absorption, or ingestion, including explosive or flammable materials.

Hot Zone: Any area, building, or vehicle considered contaminated by hazardous material. This area is restricted to personnel specifically trained and wearing protective gear as is determined by OSHA.

Site safety officer: The person responsible for safety and proper operations at a HazMat scene. The safety officer will be a Drugs and Vice Division (DVD) supervisor or HazMat supervisor.

Warm Zone: The area directly outside of the Hot Zone. This area is the primary work area for DVD and HazMat personnel supporting HazMat inside the Hot Zone. This area is restricted to the DVD lab team, HazMat, Forensic Evidence Division (Forensics), and authorized personnel.

Working lab: A location where it is in an active state (cooking) of manufacturing a controlled substance. The chemicals may be in any stage of heating, pumping, straining, stirring or adaptation to manufacture controlled substances.

Member Responsibilities (640.13)

Members who suspect a drug lab, in any stage of operation or during the course of any investigation, will contact DVD prior to entering the location.

Members inadvertently finding themselves within a suspected drug lab will limit their exposure to only as long as it takes to remove minors, citizens or suspects from the Hot Zone. Members will then initiate a DVD call out.

Responding Member Responsibilities (640.13)

a. The first member on scene who determines that hazardous materials site and/or drug lab is present shall immediately:

1. Request cover.

2. Apply rubber gloves. Nitrile gloves should be worn, latex gloves do not provide a chemical barrier. Nitrile gloves are carried on the HazMat truck.

3. Move all persons to an area of safety outside the Hot Zone (Warm or Cold Zone depending upon contamination).

4. Notify a supervisor.

b. Individuals contaminated with suspected hazardous materials will not be placed in city vehicles. Whenever possible, any suspect taken into custody will be flexcuffed to avoid contamination of handcuffs and will be placed in a Warm Zone. The scene will be secured and access denied to all but authorized persons.

c. If a member is exposed they should remain on scene for evaluation and/or decontamination. If the member leaves the scene prior to DVD arrival, the member shall provide name and contact information to DVD personnel as soon as possible.

d. If symptoms of exposure are present, advise HazMat and/or DVD personnel. Acute exposure or severe symptoms require immediate medical attention.

e. Maintain uniform presence in Cold Zone until clean-up contractor has departed.

Supervisory Sergeant Responsibilities (640.13)

When notified of a lab site, supervisors will initiate a DVD lab call out through the Bureau of Emergency Communication (BOEC) or by calling DVD directly. A DVD Lab Response Team will be dispatched to the scene and a DVD supervisor will take command of the incident when on scene. In the event an explosive device is either located or suspected, the supervisor will request Explosives Disposal Unit (EDU) response.

DVD Lab Response Team Responsibilities (640.13)

a. DVD will serve all search warrants where the warrant indicates the place to be searched is suspected to contain an operating drug lab or hazardous materials.

b. DVD lab team members will contact DEQ and apprise them of the site location, approximate size of the lab and an estimate of how much time will be required of an environmental clean up team to clean up the site. If the lab is not operating, members of the DVD lab team will take samples of evidence and process it as described in DIR 660.10. Contaminated items of evidence will be considered hazardous and will be photographed at the scene by DVD. Contaminated items of evidence will not be placed in any police vehicle or property room unless decontaminated by DVD. Only those items of evidentiary value needed for case prosecution will be decontaminated and placed in property evidence. All such items will be labeled DECONTAMINATED. DVD will remove contaminated items and suspected lab-ware from inside the lab and place it in a collection area for the clean up contractor.

c. Once the investigation is complete and prior to leaving the scene, a DVD supervisor will contact BOEC requesting a Premise Information Notification (PIN) be placed on the address until decontamination occurs. DVD and HazMat will ensure that the Oregon Department of Human Services is notified of the drug lab location and the site is posted as unfit for habitation.

d. These procedures also apply to members investigating sites outside the city limits. DVD will determine and coordinate the appropriate response.

Forensic Evidence Division (Forensics) Responsibilities (640.13)

Forensics may be requested to respond for latent print examination. Only Forensics personnel with proper HazMat training may enter or work in the Hot Zone.

Portland Fire Bureau Hazardous Materials Team Responsibilities (640.13)

a. Respond to all drug lab sites with DVD when requested.

b. Share the roles of the on scene site safety officer, monitoring, and control of the lab site with DVD.

c. Conduct routine and emergency decontamination.

d. Delineate Hot and Warm zones with marking tape.

e. Maintain on scene fire equipment where the risk of fire or explosion is present.

Oregon State Police Crime Lab (OSP) Responsibilities (640.13)

OSP Crime Lab chemist will be requested to scenes of working labs and may be called to the scene of elaborate or large scale labs.

Evidence (640.13)

a. Only samples of chemicals and evidence collected by DVD or the Crime Lab will be transported to the Crime Lab or Property Evidence Division (PED).

b. After business hours, evidence will be handled as outlined in DIR 660.10.

c. Transport of any chemical sample or other items from a drug lab site must be authorized by DVD.

d. DVD personnel will be responsible for proper packing of chemical samples for transportation to the OSP crime lab or PED.

e. If a drug lab is discovered in a vehicle, and after consultation with DVD, the vehicle will be towed to the (PED) storage lot at Rivergate Vehicle Storage Facility following removal of the lab. DVD will assist the tow driver in hooking up the vehicle and will post the vehicle as having been contaminated by chemicals or hazardous materials.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (640.13)

No person shall enter a known Hot Zone without PPE and proper training. This requirement does not apply to emergency situations.

Decontamination (640.13)

a. Members and Innocent Bystanders.

1. Members coming into contact with a substance suspected as being hazardous or having a concern about contamination will report the exposure to a supervisor as soon as possible.

2. HazMat and DVD personnel will determine the extent decontamination is needed.

3. No person will exit a Hot Zone without appropriate decontamination. An emergency is the only exception.

4. In cases of gross contamination, such as a chemical spill, the victim’s clothing will be removed as soon as possible. Emergency shower facilities and disposable clothing will be provided by the Portland Fire Bureau (PFB). Members should bathe as soon as possible. All arrested persons will be decontaminated prior to placement in a police vehicle and/or transported.

5. In the event personal items or clothing are destroyed due to contamination, members will contact the City’s Bureau of Risk Management to obtain a claim form (see DIR 220.40).

6. When a member’s equipment or Bureau issued equipment (i.e., uniform, web gear, flashlight, handcuffs and/or weapon) becomes contaminated and he/she does not have replacement items, an immediate supervisor will determine a temporary assignment until the necessary equipment can be replaced.

b. Personnel Exposure Documentation and Reporting.

1. All members who have entered a Hot Zone unprotected or have symptoms of contamination shall:

a) Notify their supervisor as soon as possible.

b) Document the exposure in their RU injury log.

c) Complete a Personnel Exposure Report, and forward to a DVD Supervisor.

c. Adult Suspects.

1. Any suspect considered contaminated will have all clothing removed, including shoes, while being afforded as much privacy as possible. The suspect will be furnished a disposable suit. This task will be monitored by the DVD team wearing protective gear.

2. All items of clothing and personal effects will be treated as contaminated. All personal items will be placed in a plastic bag and a determination will be made as to whether they can be decontaminated.

3. An MCDC commander will be notified from the scene of the number and gender of prisoners.

4. Prisoners will be transported with as much of their body covered (including hair and hands) as possible.

d. Juvenile Suspects and Children Taken into Protective Custody.

1. Any child taken into custody will be decontaminated at the scene in the same manner as adults.

2. JDH will be notified prior to the transport of arrestees.

3. The Department of Human Services (DHS) will be contacted for support when decontamination and/or shelter care is required in protective custody situations (see DIR 850.30).

e. Injured Persons.

1. Unless injuries require immediate transport to a medical facility, all injured parties (regardless of status) will be decontaminated at the scene in conjunction with DVD/HazMat procedures.

Contaminated Animals (640.13)

Animals located within a hazardous materials site or drug lab will be secured, when possible, within the Hot Zone or a Warm Zone, depending upon the circumstances. Contaminated animals will not be transported to the JusticeCenter. Animal Control should be contacted to take the animals into protective custody at the scene per DIR 631.70.

Site Clean-Up (640.13)

Once evidence has been collected and the investigation of the site is complete, a private environmental company contracted by DEQ or DEA will be contacted.

The contractor will have the responsibility for transporting excess materials not required as evidence samples to a storage site.

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