State officials fined the city of Los Angeles more than $5,000 for health and safety violations at the LAPD's Central Station, where at least one officer was recently infected with salmonella typhi, the bacteria that causes typhoid fever.
CAL-OSHA inspection records obtained by the NBC4 I-Team said, "employees were exposed to unsanitary conditions" and "an unsanitary workplace." Inspectors also reported the air conditioning system was improperly maintained, extension cords were being used instead of permanent wiring, and the LAPD had not provided employees with information on infectious diseases.
"The employer did not provide training and instruction on the hazards of typhus fever in the workplace, including information regarding the mode of transmission, symptoms of exposure, or preventative measures," the records said.
The fines were issued on May 14 and totaled $5,425. The inspection was conducted last November.
The union that represents most LAPD officers, the LA Police Protective League, said in a statement Wednesday the city must do more to clean up work areas and provide more preventative measures.
"At this point we don't care who is at fault, we just want these toxic work sites cleaned and sanitized," the League said. "Officers worry enough about being shot or injured policing the streets of Los Angeles, they shouldn't also have to worry about being infected with diseases they can take home to their families simply by showing up to work."
The LAPD said in a statement Wednesday it was working to disinfect work areas that may have been exposed to the bacteria.
"The health and well-being of every LAPD employee is vital and we will be working diligently to ensure we create a safe work environment. Unfortunately, our police officers often patrol in adverse environments and can be exposed to various dangerous elements," the statement said.
Mayor Eric Garcetti told NBC4 Thursday he was concerned about the wellbeing of city employees who could be exposed to hazards at work.
"We always have to look out for our police officers. We care deeply about them, and that's why we should regularly be making sure we're out there, tripling the amount of the cleanups we're doing," Garcetti said. "But we need also to make sure people aren't dumping things illegally, work with the county to make sure we have all of the vaccinations and all the health for our firefighters and police officers that are right there on the front line."
Earlier this month three officers at the West Valley station in Reseda said they had been exposed to the drug-resistant MRSA virus after contact with an individual who was possibly infected.