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  #1  
Old 07-18-2009, 01:57 PM
BrandonR BrandonR is offline
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Do most hospital security forces carry guns?

I ask because there's a group of hospitals near/at my university and their security drives police-like cars (I always mistake them for real cops) and carries guns. Prior to seeing this I assumed they were like any other unarmed security team. I also recall the episode of House when the patient shot him, their security was apparently armed since the guards shot the patient (which is obviously relevant since House is a documentary).

So, are armed security forces at hospitals the rule or is this an exception? And why armed? Seems to me like it creates a larger liability than necessary for a seemingly relatively safe hospital... (cue for interesting anecdotes showing hospitals DO need armed security)
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  #2  
Old 07-18-2009, 02:17 PM
Bridget Burke Bridget Burke is offline
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For example, the University of Texas M D Anderson Cancer Center in Houston has the UT Police--armed uniformed & plainclothes officers. But the unarmed security guards are more numerous.

More than 20 years ago, a doctor was found dead in his office; he'd been murdered over the weekend. A few years ago, a young female doctor was raped. There have been numerous incidents of theft; lots of expensive equipment & personal belongings about. It's a huge institution with many buildings--offices & research facilities, besides the inpatient floor & outpatient clinics. The security guards keep an eye on the entrances; late at the night & on weekends, visitors need to sign in. But they are mostly low-key, since visitors & patients do not need extra hassles. Some buildings where no patient care occurs have key-card entry. PETA might try to set the white rats free!

Other hospitals in the Texas Medical Center (located in the middle of a vast metropolitan area) have similar setups, with unarmed & armed security. Some very high profile people come to Houston for treatment, from all over the world. When a Saudi Prince or a Gypsy King is being treated, tensions can run high. But theft is really more common than violence. And employees working late shifts feel better when they know somebody's paying attention to comings & goings.

Again, most of the visible guards are unarmed--but armed help can be called. All these hospitals keep close reins on their budgets; they wouldn't hire these guys (and ladies) if they didn't need them.
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Old 07-18-2009, 02:27 PM
Ferret Herder Ferret Herder is offline
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They do carry guns where I work (large medical center in Chicago). For starters, we're not in the best neighborhood. They not only patrol the buildings but also the area we're located, which includes city streets, a big parking garage (cue fears of attack/mugging/rape), alleys, etc.

There are opportunities for all sorts of crime - maybe robberies of delivery trucks by criminals looking for drugs, attacks on employees carrying deposits for the bank, thieves posing as patients who try to slip into unattended offices to rob them (a particular problem in my department), domestic violence on patients or employees, I could go on. I know that a doctor was shot at in his office just one floor below me; I don't know what that was about (random attack vs. angry/crazy patient vs. domestic issue).

They're our 'first responders' for crime, and so it may well be useful for them to be armed. Fortunately I've never had to call for anything that required a gun.

Last edited by Ferret Herder; 07-18-2009 at 02:29 PM..
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Old 07-18-2009, 02:30 PM
Bayard Bayard is offline
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Anecdata here:

My company comprises 5 hospitals. One of the hospitals is attached to a local university. The university police (armed with guns) provide security for that site. The other four hospitals are not served by the university cops. Our company security guards staff them. They are armed with tasers (and maybe pepper spray) but not guns. ETA: the corporate office, just down the block from the university-connected hospital, is also staffed by unarmed guards, FWIW.

In the previous hospital I worked in, unarmed guards provided security.

Last edited by Bayard; 07-18-2009 at 02:32 PM..
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  #5  
Old 07-18-2009, 02:34 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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In my experience, most hospitals don't have their own armed security force. However, it isn't unusual for large institutions like universities to have their own true police force. They are real police in every sense of the word. I don't see why a group of hospitals couldn't have its own true police force as well if it needed one.
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Old 07-18-2009, 04:54 PM
BrandonR BrandonR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
In my experience, most hospitals don't have their own armed security force. However, it isn't unusual for large institutions like universities to have their own true police force. They are real police in every sense of the word. I don't see why a group of hospitals couldn't have its own true police force as well if it needed one.
Yeah, that's what I was thinking. My university has their own (armed) police force in addition to the separate hospital security.
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  #7  
Old 07-18-2009, 05:57 PM
Una Persson Una Persson is offline
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I've searched via my usual sources, and cannot find any concrete data which breaks down something as specific as number of hospitals with firearm-wielding versus non guards. I can offer that I've been to a damn lot of hospitals, and in every single one of them the guards had sidearms.
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