Sheriff’s officers worry they’ll inadvertently bring the pests home
Bedbugs are making their way through the justice system in St. John’s.
Months after they were detected at provincial court in Atlantic Place, the bugs have been spotted at both Newfoundland Supreme Court and the St. John’s lockup.
According to three sheriff’s officers who didn’t want to be named, a bedbug was seen at around 4 p.m. Wednesday crawling on a male sheriff’s officer’s sleeve at Supreme Court. That prompted administrators to call in a sniffer dog, which checked the historic building.
“It was one (bedbug),” chief administrative officer Pamela Ryder-Lahey told The Telegram Friday. “Within the hour, we had the dog in and the building was cleared.”
She said the dog was brought back to the building again Thursday and no other bedbugs were detected.
However, according to sheriff’s officers, the dog did sniff out bedbugs at the lockup.
“It’s unsettling,” a sheriff’s officer said. “We don’t know if we’re bringing these home.”
Sheriff’s officers escort up to a dozen inmates from the lockup to provincial court and Supreme Court each day.
“We have to pat these inmates down each time, so (bedbugs) could easily get on us,” the officer said. “And the worst thing is, we don’t know just how bad the problem is.”
Calls to Graham Rogerson, superintendent of prisons, were directed to Department of Justice media co-ordinator Luke Joyce.
In an email to The Telegram, Joyce said, “A single bedbug was found in one of the male cells (at the lockup) and no bedbugs were found in the female cells. An exterminator has been in and sprayed the facility. We will continue to monitor the issue closely.”