"Now, all they need is a coffee pot," he said. "With that method, it only takes an hour to make, instead of a whole day."
Smith, a drug detective and instructor, said the officers learned how to operate breathing equipment by going through a "smokehouse" on Monday. In a smokehouse, gases are pumped into the room and the officers are tested on properly using their breathing devices. The officers also were sprayed with meth chemicals to practice self-decontamination.
The officers who qualify will continue taking classes this week. The classes are funded by a federal meth prevention grant, Smith said.
Elkins police Patrolman B.D. Tice said he didn't know what chemicals went into making meth until he began taking the classes Monday.
If certified, Tice would be the only meth tech in his department. Tice said he's needed the training because meth is a growing problem in Randolph County, which has just two other meth lab technicians.
Smith said it costs approximately $2,800 to clean up a meth lab site, but that that's a small price compared to the $250,000 in legal fees he said it costs the state from arrest to conviction.
Reach Travis Crum at travis.c...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.