The State of California is fining the Los Angeles Police Department more than $5,000 for sanitary problems at its Central Station near Skid Row.
Frank Polizzi from Cal OSHA told KABC an inspection of the LAPD Central Station uncovered lots of health problems.
“Some things CAL OSHA identified were rats and rodents, fleas, roaches and even flies and gnats, grasshoppers and mosquitoes.”
Rats can spread diseases like typhus. And Cal OSHA checked into tasks where officers are exposed to health risks.
“We have gone into situations where we’re notified of hazards of [city] employees having to clean homeless camps,” Polizzi adds. “And so, in that case, the homeless camp itself would be the inspection site.”
On Thursday, at least one LAPD officer was diagnosed with typhoid fever. It’s not yet known if the disease was spread by a nearby homeless encampment.
Robert Harris with the Los Angeles Police Protective League says the Mayor and the Chief need to make sure officers are safe.
“They don’t need to be going into their work environments worried about contracting a disease they’re going to be taking home to their families.”
Harris adds the city needs to get its act together.
“Something has got to be done to start cleaning these sites up. And it can’t just be a band aid cleaning it up for this one incident.”
Doctor Suman Radhakrishna, an infectious disease expert at California Hospital, says although it’s rare to see typhoid fever in America, it can be spread through tainted food and unsanitary conditions.
“The problem with the homeless crisis that we are facing is that they do not have as good an access to bathrooms and sinks so that they can wash their hands.”
Typhoid fever can be life threatening. The LAPD officer is being treated. The police union says two other cops are being tested.
Kevin Tripp, KABC News