ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A former Central New Mexico Community College security guard said when she was maced, as a part of training, it triggered a lot of health problems. Her doctors agree and now she wants the college to pay for it.
“I’m sad,” said Vickie Turner.
Turner chokes up every time she talks about it.
“Because I loved my job,” she said.
Turner, 58, is a former security guard at Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque.
After retiring from airline work in 2005, Turner started working at CNM as a way to serve her community, but a training exercise in May 2014 put her career on hold.
“The instructor, I’m guessing she might have been 12 to 15 feet away from me, she holds the mace and sprays it directly into your face for a few seconds,” said Turner.
After that, Turner said she was ordered to pick up her baton and fight off an attacker. Immediately following the drill she started to hyperventilate.
“I didn’t know where the restroom was in a building I had worked at for five years,” she said.
Tuner was taken to the hospital, treated for high blood pressure then released.
Days later she started suffering from memory loss, internal bleeding and fatigue.
Her primary doctor claimed in at least two letters that the health problems are directly related to being sprayed with mace.
A CNM spokesperson released the following statement: “CNM has made a devoted effort to upgrade the capabilities of its security officers through professional trainings that are standardized for all security officers in New Mexico through the New Mexico Administrative Code. In this effort to enhance campus safety and security, CNM has provided security officers with Level 2 certification trainings. Security officers seeking the Level 2 designation, as stipulated by the New Mexico Administrative Code, are required to experience the effects of pepper spray, so they are prepared for and understand its effects on others and themselves if it is used in the line of duty. The training is the same for all security officers in New Mexico seeking Level 2 certification.”
“I just want them to take responsibility for the fact that I was hurt at work,” said Turner.
Turner said she has more than $20,000 worth of medical bills.
She said she has tried contacting CNM about workers’ compensation several times, but no one has gotten back to her.
Turner has hired an attorney.