• Seattle police officer stuck with needle at North Seattle park

    By: Alison Grande

    Updated:

    A Seattle Police officer was stuck by a dirty needle at a North Seattle park.

    According to police, the veteran officer is a part of the Navigation Team focusing on the homeless situation in the city. He was walking through Baker Park on Crown Hill on Monday when he stepped on a needle in the grass, police said.

    The needle went through the sole of his boot and stabbed his foot and the officer was taken to a hospital to be examined, Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said. He also brought the needle so it could be tested.

    As a precaution, the officer was given immunizations and given a variety of drugs to fight HIV, according to the department. He was still home recovering on Friday.

    SPD says  if you spot a needle at a park where it could be a hazard, call 911. They will either pick it up or contact the right department to handle it. 

    Whitcomb said if a needle can go through a police officer's boot, it can go easily go through a tennis shoe or dress shoe.

    He said having an officer stuck by a needle is very rare. He said oficers are highly trained and wear special gloves during searches.  

    KIRO 7 was at the park on Friday and noticed the grass looked like it had been recently cut.

    In 2014, a random man in Seattle was pricked with a syringe and told, "Welcome to the HIV club." At the time, Dr. Shireesha Dhanireddy of Harborview Medical Center told KIRO 7 there was a low risk of the victim being infected with HIV.

    "If the needle was visibly bloody and it had recently been drawn from an HIV infected person the risk is .3%," Dr. Dhanireddy said.

    She added that the risk is even lower if the victim was treated with post exposure prophylaxis treatment or "PEP" within hours of getting pricked by the needle. That is what the officer received. 

    Dr. Dhanireddy said the chances of infection would be decreased by up to 80 percent with that treatment. 

    "It's a very low chance we never say zero but it's very low chance. particularly because we don’t know the source status," Dr. Dhanireddy said after the 2014 case.


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