Officer Stabbed with
Dirty Drug Needle
November 21, 5:50 p.m.
By Julie Sidoni
police officer doing a routine pat down of a suspect could now be facing
a potentially life-threatening disease. He was making sure the suspect
wasn't armed when he was stabbed with a used drug needle.
incident has a police department rethinking how safe all police officers
really are out there and it has the patrolman quite literally wondering
what the next six months or so will bring.
Officer Tom Eibach, 25, of the Scott Township Police Department has been
on the force just a few years. Now he's facing the scare of his life.
tough. I felt sick to my stomach as soon as I was stuck," Eibach
working for the Blakely Police Department a few days ago when he had to
arrest a man on suspicion of stealing prescription drugs. That man was
Steven Blanchard, 26, of Dickson City.
Officer Eibach said he specifically asked Blanchard if he had a weapon
or a needle. Blanchard said no, but moments later plunged a dirty heroin
needle into the officer's hand, right through a protective glove he was
have to follow up now, three weeks, six weeks, six months with HIV
testing and hepatitis testing every four to six months," Eibach
Township Chief James Romano called the incident a potential tragedy and
a jolt into reality. "We've had incidents where officers have been
hurt but we've never had a situation where there's a possibility he
could have a life-threatening disease over a simple pat down of
Blanchard was arraigned on separate criminal mischief and theft charges.
There is no word what charges he will face for the dirty needle
meantime, Chief Romano said he now wants all of his officers to get
"We're going to have to take a good long look at more protective
gear. Better gloves. He had gloves that protected him on the bottom but
where the needle went through was the side," the chief added.
the chief and Officer Eibach said what happened with the dirty needle is
a symptom of an issue that's getting bigger every day, which is heroin
use in the area.
said as the number of heroin arrests rise so will incidents like this