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Officer who gave CPR to overdose victim had no exposure to narcotic, authorities say

Posted at 9:15 AM, Jul 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-23 18:51:15-04

Cleveland police officer was taken to the hospital Sunday evening after coming in contact with someone who had overdosed. Authorities confirmed Monday that the officer was not exposed to narcotics.

Police confirmed a 53-year-old officer fell ill after giving CPR to someone who overdosed at Edgewater Park shortly after 5 p.m. Sunday. The condition of the person the officer worked to save has not been released.

"We have to be extremely careful," Cleveland Police Patrolman's Association President Jeff Follmer told News 5. 

Follmer said police are on their toes every day, but more and more so on drug calls, especially when they may involve fentanyl. 

"We always have to be careful and you have to look out when you're dealing with someone who overdosed, the fentanyl doesn't get on our bodies," Follmer explained. 

Follmer said it's likely the incident Sunday night at Edgewater Park started as a heroin overdose, and it's unclear whether fentanyl played a role.

Fentanyl is the powerful, extremely dangerous painkiller often mixed with heroin to make it more potent. 

Follmer said what happened demonstrates what every officer has in the back of their mind when policing what's called a heroin epidemic here. 

In this case, an officer tried to save a life through CPR. 

"He worked with everybody down at Edgewater to make sure this person was okay. After that, our officer wasn't feeling good and he went to the hospital," he said. 

The officer's name has not been released as of Monday, but News 5 has learned he's a veteran Cleveland police officer with District 1.

The officer was taken to Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospital. His condition is currently unknown.

Cleveland Police told News 5 they've determined the officer had "no exposure to narcotic."

That's not always the case.

About a year ago, another Cleveland Police officer was rushed to the hospital after coming in contact with fentanyl while issuing a search warrant on a North Collinwood home.

An Officer in East Liverpool Officer came in contact with fentanyl, overdosed and ended up needing four doses of the reversal drug naloxone. 

Follmer said protecting and saving lives is always the priority, but these days, officers can't be too careful with their own.

"Our officers will go that extra step to save somebody's life, as long as they've got all the protective gear," he said.