Butte police

BUTTE- The Butte Police Department is taking a proactive approach to keep their officers safe after an increase in fentanyl-laced drugs has been reported in Butte.

In the past, officers would conduct field testing at the station on drugs they confiscated during an arrest. The field test would consist of the officer taking a scoop of the drug and placing it in a sealed envelope.

The drugs would be dispersed into different vials to determine what drug was present. But officials say this method of testing can place officers in danger of exposure to drugs like fentanyl.

Butte-Silver Bow Sheriff Ed Lester says none of his officers have been exposed to fentanyl, but they've seen in an increase in the drug. Lester says the department is taking a proactive approach.

"Our safety is paramount because if we aren’t safe, we get injured or incapacitated in some manner, where we're not able to help the people we initially responded for," Lester says. "So that's one of our first concerns making the scene safe."

Every officer in Butte carries Narcan, an overdose reversal drug, so it's ready in case they need to help someone who is overdosing or they themselves come in contact with opioids.

Confiscated drugs will now be sent to the Montana State Crime Lab for testing.

Lester says results on the drugs could take up to 4 to 6 weeks, but the safety of his officers and the public is important.

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