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Fighting Fentanyl

Course length


About the course

Fentanyl is quickly becoming one of the most dangerous and challenging drug-related threats to communities and law enforcement officials across the United States. Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate used as a surgical anesthetic or as a narcotic to treat chronic and severe pain. It’s most used in cancer patients; however, over the last couple of years, it’s been blamed for the death of thousands of Americans. It’s characterized by the CDC as an “incapacitating agent,” and provides a substantial risk to law enforcement. Fentanyl can be absorbed through the skin, whether through accidental contact or inhalation of airborne powder. Many law enforcement officers are not aware of these risks, and the results can be deadly. Across the United States, dozens of officers have been exposed to Fentanyl during traffic stops, calls for service, and undercover operations. Many of those officers were incapacitated and had to be revived with Naloxone. The instructor has conducted audio/video interviews with several of the officers and these interviews will be presented during the class. Day one of this training course will focus on breaking down Fentanyl as well as the latest trends in packaging and distribution. An emphasis will be placed on how to protect yourself from accidental exposure and possible overdose by using proper protective equipment. Officers will learn how to recognize the symptoms and respond to an officer overdose. The proper technique for naloxone deployment will also be presented. An emphasis will be placed on how to collect, process, and preserve Fentanyl evidence while minimizing exposure. Example policies and procedures will also be presented. The second day of the training course will focus on investigative techniques involving Fentanyl cases. Best practices for undercover operations and/or controlled buys will be discussed in detail.
Topics covered include:
• Why Fentanyl
• Current Fentanyl Trends and Cutting Agents
• Recognition and Awareness
• Symptoms of Exposure
• Response to Accidental Exposure
• Packaging & Distribution Methods
• Undercover Operations involving Heroin/Fentanyl
• Evidence Handling & Safety Precautions
• Risks to Law Enforcement
• Proper Protective Equipment

Your Instructor
Paul Gifford retired from full-time law enforcement in July 2021. Paul worked as a law enforcement officer specializing in narcotic-related investigations. He has received many accolades during his time as a drug interdiction officer to include the prestigious "Looking Beyond the Traffic Stop" award issued by the New Hampshire Police State Academy for his successful drug seizures. Paul's work as an interdiction officer has also led to favorable New Hampshire Supreme Court rulings recognizing his techniques.
In January of 2007, Paul began working with the Hanover, NH Police Department. In 2008 Paul transferred to the City of Lebanon NH Police Department, where he continued his work in narcotics by assisting with the NH Drug Task Force.
In 2015 Paul was selected to the New Hampshire Attorney General's Drug Task Force, where he worked in an undercover capacity. The New England area, specifically New Hampshire, has been the epicenter of the opioid drug crisis.
New Hampshire rates 2nd in the nation, behind West Virginia, for the number of opioid-related deaths relative to its population. It rates number one, though, for fentanyl-related deaths per capita. Paul's Drug Task Force has investigated dozens of fentanyl-related overdoses and continues to combat the deadly drug by educating the public and conducting undercover operations targeting the sources.
In addition to fentanyl-related investigations, Paul has also conducted undercover operations targeting methamphetamine dealers in the New England region. As a result of his meth investigations, Paul's efforts resulted in the largest methamphetamine seizure in the New England region.
Paul has also been the Tactical Team Leader for the past 10 years for the City of Lebanon. He retired from the Vermont Army National Guard's Sniper Section in Jericho, Vermont in July 2020. Paul had been a law enforcement instructor since 2008 and has a strong passion for teaching and mentoring.
After retiring from fulltime Law Enforcement Paul consulted with one of the countries top wiretapping software companies.
Currently Paul consults with several Law Enforcement agencies and travels the country teaching and public speaking.

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