IMPD Employees Call East District Roll Call Site A Sick Building

Local And State Agencies Will Conduct Tests And Investigate Health Complaints

Employees of IMPD's newly opened East District roll call site have raised numerous health concerns, prompting an investigation by a number of local, county and state agencies.

The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration confirmed today that it had received a formal complaint and that it would respond with an investigation. The Marion County Health Department also reports receiving a formal complaint. And R-T-V-6 has confirmed that East Distrtict commanders have asked the Indianapolis Fire Deparrtment to "help with an evaluation of the Eastgate facility" at 200 North Shadeland Avenue.

The complaints of allergic and respiratory like symptoms began almost immediately after sworn and civilian personell moved in May into the newly renovated Eastgate Consumer Mall. Richard Frantz, a retired IMPD officer, says his wife has had made 7-visits to the emergency room in the past two months. On 1-occasion, doctors at St. Francis kept her 3-days for an evaluation.

"She's got all the symptoms that they say are related to black mold or some kind of mold," says Frantz. She gets headaches, redness in her eyes, nausea, dizziness, rapid heart beat and low blood pressure," Frantz said. He said that her doctors have diagnosed here with "sick building syndrome."

In an email obtained by R-T-V-6, Major Ted Fries of the Division of Homeland Security says no one in his division has experienced any problems. But in the email, he says the East District, which cohabitates the building, "has had several complaints of respiratory problems."

Marion County Health officials acknowleged on Monday, that they have received a formal complaint about respiratory like illnesses at the facility. "Typically, people are experiencing irritation, upper respiratory allergies, headaches, very non-specific indicators, " says Lisa Cauldwell, an Indoor Air Team Leader for the Bureau of Environmental Health for the Marion County Health Department. And that's why it's given the term sick-building. Because there's not a known origin of the issues," Cauldwell said.

The Department of Public Safety leased the building in 2011 and converted it into a regional operation command center to run homeland security operations during Super Bowl LVI. Before that, it was just a rundown building that had been gutted by scrap metal thieves who left it open and exposed to the elements and lots of bad weather. And even though IMPD rushed to move its East District operation into another part of the building in March, the project was at least two months late.

Frantz suspects that mold left over in the construction and renovation phase remains in the building. "All of the doctorcs basically tell my wife, stay out of the building. Don't go linto the building until it's been tested for air quality. She's just sick."