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Three MO Police Officers Sue Over Meth Exposure

Three MO Police Officers Sue Over Meth Exposure

State and federal law enforcement officers are seen outside a house where a meth lab exploded during a police raid, in Franklin, N.H. , Tuesday, April 6,2010. [AP]

Associated Press

November 28, 2010

KANSAS CITY, MO – A lawsuit alleges that three Missouri police officers suffered permanent injuries after inhaling poisonous vapors in a 2007 raid on a methamphetamine lab.

The current and former officers in Butler, Mo., allege in the lawsuit filed this week in federal court in Kansas City that they were not properly trained in the risks of meth labs and in the use of available protective equipment.

The lawsuit was filed against the current and former police chiefs of the city, which is about an hour south of Kansas City, as well as the former mayor of Butler, who is now deceased.

After the November 2007 raid, officers Mark Frost, Harold Anderson and Kenneth Rush were hospitalized for about a week with chemically induced pneumonia and heart murmurs, the lawsuit says.

All will suffer lifelong health problems as a result, the lawsuit alleged, although all three continue to work in law enforcement.

Frost is still an officer in Butler. Anderson is the Bates County, Mo., sheriff. Rush works for the sheriff’s department.

Butler Police Chief Jim Garnett said Friday that he had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment on the allegations.

The suit contends that Butler officials had obtained a grant to buy breathing masks to protect officers from meth lab fumes but had not provided training in their use.

On the day of the 2007 raid, the operators of the meth lab began throwing chemicals into a sump pump. The mixture of water with sulfuric acid, anhydrous ammonia and camping stove fuel created a fog that the officers inhaled as they forced their way in to serve a search warrant, according to the lawsuit.

Ashley Baird, the plaintiffs’ attorney, said the full extent of the injuries was not yet known.

The lawsuit does not specify the amount of damages being sought.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 3 years ago


    Filing the lawsuit was in their right, somebody should have warned them about the risks although I tend to believe that being aware of the risks should be part of their training. Being a part of an anti-drug task force is a challenging job. The drug world has no mercy. I recently found some drug related facts on this drug rehab Oklahoma and it freaked me out how far things can go in this world of drug hell...

  • Blue_line_decal_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Obviously it's impossible to train for every situation. However, in this case, it seems logical that the department should have trained these officers better about the dangers of Meth labs if they were serving warrants on same. They definitely should have been properly trained on the correct utilization of the safety devices they were issued for this encounter. A failure to train in this situation is a blatant failure to train issue by the department and city, and is a very good basis for a lawsuit.
    Washee I agree you can't train for everything, but we can train for foreseeable conditions. Obviously if a missile strike hit my city I wouldn't be trained in dealing with that particular situation. But, my departments V/N officers are trained and briefed on how to encounter a meth lab successfully, because there's a possibility of encountering those in their line of work. Saying you can't train for everything is a bit of a cop out.

  • Img_1830_max50


    over 3 years ago


    pay em,,,it is curel and inhumane and unusual punishment if you forced an immate to breath that stuff

  • In_remembrance_of_oakland_pd_max50_max50_max50_max50_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I hope that their health care costs are maintained for life.

  • Steve_mcqueen_max50


    over 3 years ago


    robocop33 , Jim as usual you have the "bull by the horns" on this one . The suit amount is not the problem , that is for the Courts to decide. As to "HEALTH INSURANCE" any Officer that is Medically Separated from his or her Department should get mandated health care without cost for life. As a Veteran who is Medically Retired above the 30% range (I BELIEVE) get free health care and medication for life. The danger that is accepted by a Police Officer while in the performance of his duty is a given , however for the Employer to "Wash their hands" of obligation to an Officer who was injured , disabled , retired , is just wrong on so many bases that I could wright a novel on that subject alone. Anyone in Public Safety , POLICE , FIRE , E.M.T. , RESCUE , either volunteer or paid is entitled to be protected "THE SAME AS ANY NON SWORN CIVILIAN WORKING FOR A PRIVATE PARTY" (usually via law suit if not agreed upon by workman's comp).

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago

    There are a vast number of ways to get injured on the job. Problem is, you could almost always say "i wasn't trained for" xyz. Their medical bills should be taken care of, but it's way to many things that one can say I wasn't trained on after a injury happens. Some departments constantly push the need for new training courses, and updates and even they can't keep up with everything you "should" or "could have been" trained on before some injury happens.

  • 1979_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I am not wanting these Officers to be given a large settlement just because they were injuried on the job, hell we all know the dangers out there. What I want is for the City or whoever was in charge to grant these guys free insurance even after they retire as expenses for medical treatment will be crushing to these guys and there is not an insurance Co out there that is going to write them a policy worth a rip. Like I said, I know that because I have been there and I am still there. Medicare helps some because I am also totally disabled and fortunately the VA also helps with my meds but my Dr bills are horrid and have ruined me financially and the Dept. on the condition of my retirement cut off all medical payments or responsibiloity forever. This happens to all too many of our brothers and sisters in the past and even today.

  • 012_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Im torn on this, I pray they get well or atleast somewhat well given the stuff they inhaled. I agree that they should have been properly trained BUT its a job hazard. We are exposed to all kinds of deadly things daily when we work. This could turn out ugly for the citizens not to mention their careers. Good luck to all involved.

  • Screen_shot_2011-04-10_at_8


    over 3 years ago


    I understand how it is, in TN if you are injured on the job, no matter how negligent your department is, you cannot sue them. I was shot by my training officer and ended up losing a finger and 9 months off the job. When I filed my law suit I became a leper in the department, that was 4 years ago and the guys still treat me like crap, and then I had to drop the suit due to the law stating that I can only go through WC to get compensation. So my prayers are for the health of these officers, that the law will be on their sides, and that their fellow officers will support them in all they do to make sure their futures are taken care of. They need all the support that they can get because making the decision to file the suit was hard and what they are about to go through will be even harder.

  • Img020_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Another tricky situation. I feel for the three officers and for their families. May God be near you and open other doors for you. I agree that these LEO's should have been properly trained, thats a given. However i feel that this is part of the job and when you sign on for SWAT you need to understand that getting shot at are not the only dangers. Secondly would'nt their inssurance cover this? I feel that this would harm tax payers.

  • 1393794_10151798561878138_392793313_n_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Man, u cannot play with meth lab, the thing is bad. It can kill you slowly.

  • Iphone_002_max50


    over 3 years ago


    pay them

  • Thinker_max50


    over 3 years ago


    First, I wish the officers the best in their recovery.

    If an agency/employer provides safety equipment or any equipment for that matter for you to use in your job, they also have the obligation to properly train you on how to use that equipment. This is why officers need to qualify with their firearms, and be certified with other things like batons, sprays, tazers, etc. I would think that failure to train the officers on respirator masks would be a violation of OSHA rules as well as subjecting the city to litigation...

  • Edres_max50


    over 3 years ago


    This article is important. we need to learn from this. Raids on meth labs and other drug houses dealing with these dangerous chemicals is dangerous. Officers should suit up with at least partial bio hazard / chemical warfare equipment. Protected O2 supply etc. These chemicals can also cause damage via skin contact. Stay safe, suit up.

  • Jack_bauer_max50


    over 3 years ago


    it's simple, you find a meth lab get out, you know there is a meth lab, call somebody else in who has hazmat suits. If your administration goes against these two rules, then sue them.

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