A Glendale police officer who sued the city after he was exposed to blood during an arrest has prompted changes to the department’s policy and increased training for handling similar incidents.
The Police Department created a checklist to assist supervisors when they are documenting any blood-exposure incidents, so they can take appropriate actions, such as making notifications to employees, completing forms and, if necessary, ensuring blood is drawn, according to City Atty. Michael Garcia.
“Although there was a policy regarding communicable diseases in effect at the time, written policies can always be improved,” he said. “In this case, the Police Department has taken the opportunity to make improvements to the policy as well as to training.”
The changes come as Officer John Schmidt has agreed to settle his lawsuit against the city, which paid him $10,000 for his attorney’s fee.
With the settlement, the city also agreed to recognize Schmidt for bringing about change to the department’s policy in dealing with any blood-exposure incidents involving police officers.
A written commendation will be added to his personnel file, according to the settlement.
His attorney, Marla Brown, said Schmidt loves his job and was glad the city took notice of his efforts to call attention to the department’s blood policy.
“He is looking to move forward,” she said.
Schmidt claimed he and another officer were exposed to blood while he was arresting a man, an incident he reported on Sept. 28, 2011 to the city and the Police Department.
Schmidt reportedly had an open cut, which was exposed to the man’s blood.
He believed the city and Police Department failed to comply with California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health regulations.
Schmidt alleged a sample of the man’s blood wasn’t immediately obtained, which he claimed could have posed “a serious threat” to the officers' health and safety, according to the lawsuit.
“When he made the report, he was surprised to find out the compliance wasn’t happening,” his attorney said.
Schmidt also claimed he was ostracized, deprived of opportunities for overtime pay, denied merit pay and subjected to an unwarranted internal affairs investigation because he reported the health violations.
But Brown said his retaliation claims with the department have been resolved.