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3.040 - Airborne Pathogens Control

Effective Date: 06/19/2013


Seattle-King County Department of Public Health has determined that SPD employees are in a very low-risk occupational setting for the transmission of tuberculosis and other airborne pathogens.  However, since a very low risk is greater than the risk of the general population, this policy reflects the essential guidelines for protection from occupational transmission of airborne pathogens.

Officers may contact the Harborview Medical Center triage desk at (206) 731-3074, ext. 3, or the Center for Disease Control (CDC) at (800) 232-4636, ext. 134, to discuss potential exposure incidents to assist in making the decision to initiate post-exposure follow-up procedures. 

Officers may consult the CDC for up-to-date information on airborne pathogens, including tuberculosis and hantavirus.      

1. Officers Will Make Reasonable Efforts to Limit Contact With Obviously Sick Subjects

Officers may question subjects about their symptoms of tuberculosis (coughing up blood, fever, chills, fatigue, weight loss.) 

  • Officers may place a surgical facemask on an obviously sick subject who is handcuffed and/or will be transported.

Exception: Any subject experiencing respiratory distress, that is intoxicated, or may vomit, will not be fitted with a facemask.

2. Officers Will Make Notifications About Subjects Who May Have Tuberculosis

If the subject will be transported to King County Jail, officers will contact the jail nursing station at (206) 296-1214.

If the subject will be transported to the Harborview Medical Center, officers will contact the triage desk at (206) 731-3074, ext. 3.

If the subject will not be booked into jail nor transported to a hospital, officers may contact the Seattle-King County Health Department Outreach Office at (206) 263-0331. 

3.  Officers Will Not Transport Other Prisoners in the Same Vehicle as a Prisoner Who is Showing Signs of Tuberculosis

When transporting a sick prisoner, officers shall:

  • Raise prisoner screen (if applicable)
  • Open rear vehicle windows/air vents
  • Close front vehicle windows
  • Turn airflow control to fresh (not re-circulate)
  • Turn fan on high setting

a. Officers Must Arrange for Department Vehicles that Become Contaminated to be Cleaned as Soon as Possible With an EPA-Approved Decontaminant

Officers shall contact Bio Clean, Inc. at (888) 412-6300 to arrange for decontamination. 

4.  Officers Will Not Hold Other Prisoners in the Same Holding Cell as a Prisoner Who is Showing Signs of Tuberculosis

a. Officers Will Attempt to Limit the Time That a Sick Person is Held at a Department Facility to 20 Minutes

5.  Officers Who Believe That They Have Been Exposed to an Airborne Pathogen Will Notify a Sergeant to Initiate Post-Exposure Follow-Up Procedures

The sergeant will provide the officer with an Airborne Exposure Packet.  All applicable forms must be completed and the packet must be sealed and submitted to the Employee Services Lieutenant by the end of the shift, if feasible.

6.  Sergeants Shall Notify the Watch Lieutenant of an Airborne Pathogen Exposure by the End of the Shift


Adrian Diaz, Chief of Police
Address: 610 5th Avenue, Seattle, WA, 98104-1900
Mailing Address: PO Box 34986, Seattle, WA, 98124-4986
Phone: (206) 625-5011
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The Seattle Police Department (SPD) prevents crime, enforces laws, and supports quality public safety by delivering respectful, professional, and dependable police services. SPD operates within a framework that divides the city into five geographical areas called "precincts".

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