Police now using handheld metal detectors at UK Hospital
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - UK police will now use handheld metal detectors to “wand” all adult patients and visitors entering emergency departments.
Officials say they decided to add these measures in response to increasing reports of violence nationwide in health care settings.
UK Chief of Police Joe Monroe says UK Hospital is no different, especially as it’s the level 1 trauma center for most of the state, regularly treating critically injured patients.
The new security measure has been something officials have been researching for a while. Monroe says because of recent events, these metal detectors were implemented quicker, starting Tuesday.
“Based on recent incidents we went ahead and escalated it a little quicker on the implementation,” Monroe said.
One recent event of note, the arrest of Bryan Carroll outside the hospital’s ER two weeks ago. Police say Carroll entered the hospital with two guns and they later found four live explosive devices and an AR-15 inside his car parked outside.
Within the past year or so, Monroe says there have been other incidents where knives and other weapons got through hospital doors.
Monroe says this first phase of the rollout only involves metal detectors at the emergency department, but they’re looking into a system-wide approach.
“It’s something that we’re trying to do to keep our staff and our patients and our visitors safe and it’s a constantly evolving process,” Monroe said. “We do the same thing on the university campus side where we’re always looking to access what our vulnerable points are and making those enhancements to correct those.”
Monroe says UK HealthCare intends to install fixed metal detectors at the emergency department entrances in the future.
Baptist Health officials tell us they partner with the Lexington Police Department and have officers in their emergency department 24/7.
Officials at CHI Saint Joseph Health tell us they have increased the number of officers in many of their facilities across Kentucky. They have added more exterior security cameras and emergency call stations at the Saint Joseph Hospital campus.
They also have limited entrances into their hospitals and require that everyone coming in go through a screening process.
To Monroe, the goal is simple: “To make sure people feel safe inside the healthcare enterprise. So, that being the main goal, we hope that’s the way they’ll feel.”
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