Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
LAPD To Remind Officers of Policy Supporting Needle Exchanges, Police Chief Says
Los Angeles Police Department Chief William Bratton last week in a memo to the city's Board of Police Commissioners said that officers will be reminded of LAPD policy supporting needle-exchange programs for injection drug users but added that police will continue to work near exchange sites, the Los Angeles Times reports (Lin, Los Angeles Times, 11/11). Shoshanna Scholar, executive director of Clean Needles Now, earlier this month complained for the third time to the police commission board that officers have been intimidating clients of the group's legal needle-exchange program, which aims to prevent the spread of HIV and other bloodborne diseases. Under LAPD guidelines, police may not target needle-exchange programs with the aim of identifying or arresting people on drug-related offenses (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/7). Bratton in the memo said commanders will be given additional training that highlights the department's support for needle exchanges with the aim of "ensuring the procedures and guidelines are not violated." In addition, officers will be notified of the specific locations of the exchange sites and reminded of the policy. "All in all, I felt like we were listened to, and there was a lot of progress," Scholar said, adding, "Ideally, if everybody sticks to protocol that was laid out by Chief Bratton, then I think we're OK" (Los Angeles Times, 11/11).
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