New Meth Task Force Cleaning Up Labs In Wilson County

Posted at 6:43 PM, Jun 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-09 01:48:35-04

LEBANON, Tenn. - Cleaning up meth labs has been expensive, and in the past, smaller counties have not been able to afford it. In Wilson County, they have created a task force to clean up the labs.

It’s an approach that those in charge said would save taxpayers money.

Deputy Jeremy Reich has been in charge of Wilson County's Combined Meth Task Force.

Several Wilson County agencies, including the county, Lebanon Police and Fire, and the Wilson Emergency Management Agency pooled money to buy the equipment necessary to clean up a meth lab.

“You know we bought in with several other departments, which cut the cost down, but on the far end it's saving the county a lot of money because we're not having to call the state out to do a whole, full clean up,” Reich said.

The state meth task force has been billing cities and counties for cleaning up a meth lab, but in Wilson County the state has just been picking up the leftover trash after the county meth task force cleaned up the mess.

Sheriff Robert Bryan said meth labs have become more mobile.

“We're still picking up meth labs on the side of the road,” Sheriff Bryan said. “It's a danger and people need to be aware of that. If you see a two liter coke bottle, or anything like that, that could be related to a lab like this. You really need to take precautions.”

“Pretty much it's groundbreaking for a department like ours and the other departments that are in the combined meth task force to have the equipment that we have here,” Reich said.

That equipment included state of the art masks and suits. The officers and deputies could monitor the air and even check for dangerous chemicals used in the production of meth.

“Uh, different colors that go for different chemicals, and when you break the tube open it will tell you what chemical is present inside a residence,” Reich said.

The new trailer has been well equipped to handle a lot of different situations. There were even protective suits for children.

“You wouldn't believe the amount of times that I've gone into meth labs and there are children there,” Reich said. “Children present.”

Anyone removed from the area around a meth lab must be decontaminated.

Lebanon's emergency services division has been storing the equipment. The Wilson County Combined Meth Task Force has also been on call 24/7, responding anywhere they're needed in the county.

“We show up and the two agencies work together to where you don't have to take everybody off the road where you still have people out there patrolling the neighborhoods and taking care of the public,” said Billy King, of Lebanon Emergency Services.

The Wilson County Combined Meth Task Force has also developed mutual aid agreements with surrounding counties where they can respond as well.