After receiving a fine over the filthy conditions at a downtown Los Angeles station where an officer contracted Typhoid fever, the Los Angeles Police Department is eliciting the help of a $110,000 "germ-zapping" robot, police announced Friday.
The Central Division Station on 251 E. 6th St. was fined in May after a state investigation found rats and filthy conditions at the facility where there were reports of an officer contracting the infection and five others showing symptoms.
“The cleanliness and safety of this facility has always been a challenge and concern of LAPD,” Chief Michel Moore said, standing next to the robot.
The robot, which is called “Light Strike,” will move about the facility and zap the rooms with ultraviolet rays, killing up to 90% of germs, officials said.
It's meant to decontaminate surfaces that are breeding grounds for bacterial infections, the chief said.
The station also got "Healthy Soles," a $5,000 machine that people can stand on for eight seconds while it uses the same technology to clean the soles of their shoes after they come into the building.
The machine can decontaminate the shoes from bacteria that can be tracked in when officers walk through the streets of downtown L.A. and step on feces and other dirt.
"We want people to go home and know they're not bringing home with them contaminants that they’re bringing from the streets," Moore said.
Moore said the station got two of the machine, and may be purchasing more for other facilities in the future.
"The robot will help keep officers safe by destroying superbugs before they can pose a threat," LAPD said.
The chief said that other measures to better cleanliness at the the station include providing more hand sanitizers and wipes, increasing working hours of custodial staff that clean the facility, refurbishing rooms, trimming back landscaping around the building and fixing the fencing to block entry ways for rodents.
The station is located near skid row in downtown L.A., where there have been growing concerns over rats thriving in the bacteria-contaminated streets.
In February, a video posted online showed rats scurrying through the halls of L.A. City Hall, drawing outrage and concerns over the spread of Typhus after an employee said she contracted the infection in November 2018.
Los Angeles County health officials first reported an outbreak of the bacterial infection in downtown Los Angeles in October 2018, the year there were 142 Typhus cases in Los Angeles County alone, according to a study by the California Department of Public Health.
Moore said the building may never become a completely sterile environment, but the new efforts will make conditions better.