Philippi Police wearing hazmat suits due to intensifying meth problem

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PHILIPPI, W.Va (WDTV) - West Virginia has a drug problem and the opioid crisis is one of the most talked about.

One local police department tell us that meth is making a comeback and it's making them take extra steps to keep the community safe.

Before going into the department's evidence room, he dressed head to toe in a full hazmat suit.

"I went in to process some evidence and when I was done, I started feeling not normal," said Chief Jeff Walters.

"I won't say we're winning the war, but we're definitely winning some battles," Walters said.

They have to make sure they're covered before coming into contact with it. In his time as chief, he has never seen the meth problem so bad.

"The drugs in Philippi have gone up dramatically," he said. "I've been here for 23 years and I've not seen it like this."

"The officers will be out here booking somebody out here in our booking area and you walk by them and they actually smell like methamphetamine where it's coming out of their pores."

On top of adding the vent and suiting up, Walters says he knew something had to be done after a few minutes in the evidence room turned into an experience he'd never forget.

"My teeth went kind of numb, my lips were going numb, I got a little edgy, and at that point I knew I had a little bit of exposure."

In the end, he reminds everyone that it's all to protect the community.

"In order to be able to protect the citizens, we have to be healthy. We have to take the precautions necessary to keep us healthy."