Winston Salem Police Department Works to Protect Officers from Needlestick Injuries
Interview by Tessie Castillo, NCHRC Program and Advocacy Coordinator
On December 1, 2013 a law went into effect in North Carolina that protects law enforcement from accidental needlestick injury and potential exposure to HIV and hepatitis C during searches. HB850/Needlestick Prevention law states that a person cannot be prosecuted for possession of a syringe or other sharp object if the object is declared to a law enforcement officer prior to search. The law was designed after a survey of officers from 67 departments in NC revealed the majority of law enforcement were concerned about needlestick injury and supported a syringe decriminalization law in order to prevent it. But now that the law is in effect, are law enforcement actually using it to protect themselves? And how are they handling the issues of drug residue that is left in a used syringe? I spoke with Sgt David Rose at the Winston Salem Police Department to find out how his department is moving forward to protect officers from needle stick injury.