Pubdate: Tue, 04 May 2004
Source: Tullahoma News (TN)
Copyright: The Tullahoma News 2004
Author: Wayne Thomas


Some 65 firefighters, police and paramedics from Rural Metro Ambulance
Service attended a methamphetamine training session Thursday night at
the Red Roof Pavilion. "The state is offering training for firemen at
the state training center in Bell Buckle, but we have trained drug
investigators who can offer the much needed training," Winchester
Public Safety Director Dennis Young stated. Young then started to put
things into motion to offer the training for the various fire
departments. Winchester Drug Investigators Sgt. Danny Mantooth and
Bill Anderson started to gather up pictures from the many meth labs
the pair has investigated. They then put together information about
how meth is cooked and all of the various ingredients that go into it.

"We then took that information to Nikki (Smith, police department
clerk) to put it together where we could present it in an organized
fashion to be presented to the firefighters," Anderson explained.
Smith prepared the presentation in a Powerpoint program that could be
shown to the firefighters and other emergency personnel. 

"This will help them know what to look for when they arrive at a fire," Mantooth
stated. One of the more surprising things that was presented to the
emergency personnel was the fact that some meth cookers have been
known to remove electrical transformers from utility poles to use in
the process of making the drug. The two drug investigators put the
finishing touches on their presentation by showing pictures of actual
methamphetamines users and the effects the drug has on people. Several
employees of Rural Metro Ambulance Service also attended the meeting
and they noted that the class reiterated training that they have
already received to pay close attention to their surroundings when are
called to help people. Another person in attendance to the class was
the Administrator of Southern Tennessee Medical Center, Russ Spray.

Spray was recently named to the governor's task force on
methamphetamines. "We are really glad that Russ is here," Young
stated. "We need that type of awareness for the dangers that our first
responders face. They know these things but we need to re-emphasis so
that they don't place themselves in harm's way," Spray commented Friday.

"This whole issue of meth use and proliferation of meth labs is really
frightening." Spray pointed out recent studies that 75 percent of all
meth lab seizures in the Southeast United States last year occurred in
Tennessee and the largest number of those took place in Franklin

"This is such a dangerous drug," Spray said. "We need to do a
better job in getting the word out just how dangerous this drug is,
especially to our children." Spray added that the governor's task
force is working to come up with ways to combat the spread of the
drug. Another person in attendance at the meeting was Republican
candidate for the state legislature, Bill Green. Green was amazed at
the information provided by Investigators Anderson and Mantooth. He
too felt stronger legislation needs to be passed concerning

"We need to convenience the governor we need help right now, not 18 months from now," Green stated. "We can't keep paying lip service to this problem." But an inmate at the Franklin County Jail presented the one thing that really drove home the dangers
of the drug. The inmate told the gathering that he used to be a police
officer, an investigator and had a top-secret clearance, but he lost
it all after he started to use methamphetamines.
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