ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. – Two St. Charles County patrol officers and a K9 officer are recovering after being exposed to narcotics Monday during traffic stop and vehicle search.
According to a spokesperson for the St. Charles County Police Department, an officer conducted a traffic stop on Opal Drive around 10:30 a.m. Monday (May 6).
A woman in the car admitted to having methamphetamine, according to police. K9 officer "Tank" was called to the scene to perform an exterior search of the car. Tank detected drugs, and the two people in the car were taken into custody.
"The dog found what was residue," said Chief Dave Todd. "We did not find any in the vehicle, but it had been there, but apparently it lingers, and it's just a danger to the public. Not just to first responders, not to law enforcement, to everyone because we've seen the response on Tank, and Tank's the size of a small child."
About 30 minutes after the search, Tank began vomiting and was noticeably lethargic. The dog’s handler administered Narcan and rushed the K9 to Carter Pet Hospital in Lake St. Louis where more Narcan was administered.
"We thought we were going to lose him," said Todd.
Rebecca Arbesman, Medical Director at Carter Pet Hospital, said Tank's vitals checked out, but his energy level was noticeably lower than usual. Carter Pet Hospital regularly treats all St. Charles County K9 officers.
Less than two hours later, the two police officers involved in the traffic stop and arrests experienced similar symptoms. One officer gave himself a dose of Narcan, and both officers were taken to a hospital.
Investigators believe the officers and canine were exposed to fentanyl. Charges will be sought against the two occupants of the vehicle for possession of a controlled substance.
Tank returned to duty Tuesday (May 7). The officers are expected to go back to work Wednesday (May 8).