LAPD Cops Face New Threat: Fleas, Rats, and Typhus Disease - NBC Southern California
Streets of Shame

Streets of Shame

Southern California's Homelessness Epidemic

LAPD Cops Face New Threat: Fleas, Rats, and Typhus Disease



    LAPD Station Overrun by Rats and Fleas

    A Los Angeles Police Department station is infested with rats and fleas. The NBC4's I-Team talked to officers who are worried it could affect their health and their ability to serve and protect. Joel Grover reports for NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Nov. 5, 2018. (Published Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018)

    LAPD cops stationed near downtown LA's Skid Row now work in fear of becoming the newest victims of the county's growing typhus epidemic, officers tell the NBC4 I-Team.

    The LAPD confirms to the NBC4 I-Team there may be "a flea and rodent problem" inside the Central Station near Skid Row, home base for over 350 officers. This past Friday, the LAPD closed down the station to fumigate for fleas that could carry typhus. The station has been fumigated repeatedly since August but officers say the flea problem remains.

    "They're in the desk drawers, on the floor, they're in the patrol cars," an LAPD cop, who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation, told the I-Team. "In one case, the employee looked down at his pants and noticed it was covered with at least fifteen fleas," the cop added.

    Another LAPD employee filed a complaint with CAL OSHA over the flea problem, according to documents obtained by the I-Team. Fleas that live on rodents can spread the typhus bacteria to humans, says the LA County Department of Public Health.

    Typhus Outbreak Spreading in Los Angeles

    [LA] Typhus Outbreak Spreading in Los Angeles

    The NBC4 I-Team is tracking an epidemic that's spreading in Los Angeles County. Typhus continues to get worse. It's a disease linked to armies of rats feasting on uncollected garbage. Joel Grover reports for the NBC4 News on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018.

    (Published Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018)

    Some 109 people have now been infected with typhus in LA County in 2018, a record number of cases. It's a disease associated with unsanitary conditions, that can cause severe headaches, high fever, and rashes.

    Cops tell the I-Team they've been getting sick from the multiple fumigations at Central Station, which they say have been done in areas with poor ventilation. The insecticide used, Dinotefuran, comes with a warning to "ensure adequate ventilation."

    "Many of us are suffering from respiratory issues, watery eyes, headaches," because of the fumigation, an LAPD cop told the I-Team.

    An email to the I-Team from LAPD spokesman Josh Rubenstein said the department uses a "licensed and bonded firm to do that work.... they informed us that all of the work was done in a safe manner.

    The health of our people is paramount and we take every concern regarding working conditions seriously."

    Get the latest from NBC4 anywhere, anytime

    • Download the App

      Available for IOS and Android