PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The death of a Battle Ground police officer that happened in August was caused by the “combined toxic effects of fentanyl and methamphetamine,” a medical examiner determined.
According to the City of Battle Ground, Police Sergeant Richard Kelly was found unconscious in his office at the Battle Ground Police Department on Aug. 10 before being transported to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Officials previously reported that the officer suffered from a medical emergency while on duty. It wasn’t until Thursday morning that authorities said the Clark County Medical Examiner found fentanyl and methamphetamine in Kelly’s system.
The Vancouver Police Department told KOIN 6 they do not know exactly where the fentanyl came from, but that Battle Ground police had seized a “sizable amount of fentanyl earlier that day.” While the substance on Kelly’s desk cannot be matched, the two substances were tested and found to be chemically consistent with one another.
Battle Ground Police Chief Mike Fort called on the Vancouver Police Department to conduct a transparent, unbiased investigation into the incident.
After Vancouver detectives reviewed the evidence found at the scene, the medical examiner’s report and toxicology reports, they determined that Kelly’s death was “more likely than not caused by an intentional act and not an incidental workplace exposure.”
In a statement, Chief Fort thanked the community and other law enforcement agencies for supporting the family, friends and colleagues affected by Kelly’s death.
Along with VPD’s investigation into the incident, Fort has also ordered an independent review of his police department’s property and evidence procedures are handled — including seized substances.
“Substance abuse is a serious problem that often goes unsuspected and undetected,” Fort added in a statement. “As a community, we need to support local efforts to assist anyone struggling with the effects of mental health and substance abuse so they may achieve recovery.”
The Clark County District Attorney’s says they are also reviewing the VPD report to see if any government employee broke the law in this case.
Battle Ground police union’s contract says no employee would be disciplined for seeking help for substance abuse. It also sets the standard for when drug testing is required, but does not lay out any procedure for randomly testing employees.