Buckley officer on county's meth team

When Buckley police officer Tom Chess responded to a drug bust in Buckley last week, it was in the role of recognition officer for the Pierce County Clandestine Lab team.

Chess has been on the team for a little more than two years, and responds to drug lab scenes throughout Pierce County, including two in Buckley this year.

The Pierce County lab team is broken down into four subteams, and Chess is on duty for primary call one week of each month and back-up call for one week as well.

His job is to recognize and identify items commonly used in drug labs and help the processing of evidence and clean-up work and attaining of search warrants.

Chess said in his opinion, the lab team paid off for everybody involved, even though he calls himself just a worker bee in the scenario. He said being part of a larger lab team has really helped out Buckley because a small city can't affort to put enough manpower to deal with the increasing problem of drug labs.

He agreed to join the lab team, after being recommended for the job by ex-Police Chief Buster McGehee, because he thought it would be a good experience.

"Obviously in a small agency you don't get a lot of exposure to SWAT-type operations or hazarous material operations," he said. "It's something in the field that is usually reserved for larger operations, so the opportunity to be involved in that sounded like an interesting learning oportunity."

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