FDPD officer hospitalized after possible fentanyl exposure

A Fort Dodge police officer was hospitalized Sunday night after being exposed to what investigators believe was a form of the drug fentanyl, according to Police Department reports.

The incident left the officer lethargic and unresponsive. He recovered after being given multiple doses of Narcan, an opioid overdose reversal drug.

“The officer is certainly lucky in that the situation was resolved quickly by medical personnel responding to assist,” said police Capt. Ryan Gruenberg. “This incident continues to reiterate the dangers associated with substances that are making their way onto our streets.”

The officer was released from UnityPoint Health ­ Trinity Regional Medical Center at about noon Monday. Gruenberg said the officer is “doing well and recovering at home with his family.”

He declined to identify the officer because of the medical nature of the incident.

The chain of events that landed the officer in the hospital began at about 5 p.m. Sunday, when he stopped a vehicle on the Kenyon Road Bridge.

When the officer began speaking to the woman who was driving the vehicle, she initially gave him false identification information. The woman was correctly identified as Kayla Potter, 28, of Clare, according to police reports.

Potter was arrested on charges of driving under suspension and providing false identification information, police reported.

While at the scene of the traffic stop, the officer handled an unknown substance before transporting Potter to the Webster County Law Enforcement Center, 702 First Ave. S.

On the way to the center, the officer began feeling dizzy, and asked the dispatcher to send medical help. At the Law Enforcement Center, another officer found him lethargic and unresponsive in his patrol vehicle.

Fire Department paramedics gave the officer two doses of Narcan in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Additional Narcan doses were administered in the emergency room.

“At this time it is suspected the unknown substance is a form of fentanyl, but until further testing is completed, we cannot be certain,” Gruenberg said.

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

“Although many similar instances have occurred nationwide to first responders, this was the first incident we are aware of in Fort Dodge,” Gruenberg said.“As we have seen across the nation, these types of exposures can be deadly and preventive measures must be taken to ensure the safety of both first responders and the public at large.”

Potter made her first appearance in Webster County Magistrate Court Monday morning.

She pleaded not guilty to the charge of driving under suspension. A trial on that charge was scheduled for March 27.

She pleaded guilty to the charge of providing false identification information and was ordered to pay a fine and court costs totaling $195.

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