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Police adjust protocol as opioid crisis grows

ELKHART, Ind. - Law enforcement officials have had to adjust as the opioid crisis grows.

Elkhart Police Sgt. Chris Snyder said over the years, his department has had to change the tools they use like rubber gloves and masks, when responding to an overdose scene. They have also had to change policies to make sure officers stay safe.

"You don't know what's in that needle, you don't know what's mixed in with whatever's inside that needle, so it's just a thing of slowing down and taking that extra precaution to make sure our officers are safe," Snyder said. B"ut we also have to get there and we have to do everything that we can to save that person that is in need."

Law enforcement manpower is also being affected. Sgt. Snyder said officers have to be at the scene and the hospital, sometimes for hours, as they conduct their investigation.

"That's depleting resources that could be out there doing other things and preventing others from becoming a victim," he said. "If you know somebody who is suffering with this, there's plenty of treatment places out there, get them the treatment they need, so that law enforcement doesn't become involved, and that saves a lot of resources not only for the family but for everybody else in our community who needs law enforcement or fire resources not tying us up on things like this where that's a choice a person made."

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