Trained security officers, facility enhancements added to comprehensive approach
Due to an increase in acts of violence in healthcare settings locally and across the U.S., Woman’s is taking a proactive stance to protect its staff, patients and visitors. The hospital has hired 13 security response officers (SROs) that will provide 24/7 coverage beginning in March, in addition to the contract security staff which will remain at entrances, visitor check-in, and on mobile patrol.
The SROs are all highly trained and skilled security professionals with backgrounds in law enforcement and/or military. They all receive specialized training in the use of both lethal and non-lethal weapons, and must pass intense physical and mental screenings to be eligible for the role.
“Our hospital leadership recognizes that the safety of our staff, patients and visitors is of utmost importance, especially in light of recent acts of violence in hospitals across the country,” said Bill Icenogle, director of emergency management and security for Woman’s Hospital. “What we’re doing at Woman’s is on the cutting edge, with a hybrid approach to security. We manage our own armed security team, which means we have full control over their training, certifications and readiness to respond.”
In order to best protect its staff, patients and visitors, Woman’s has contracted with former Baton Rouge police chief Greg Phares, who has more than 40 years of experience in law enforcement, to ensure its security measures will both deter and rapidly deescalate any situation that poses a threat to anyone on its campus.
“By hiring their own security response officers, Woman’s is showing a commitment to keeping employees safe so they can focus on caring for their patients,” said Phares. “This is a pioneer program that I believe other hospitals are going to want to follow.”
Woman’s also is upgrading additional hospital features and providing employee training to keep its campus safe. A lockdown system for patient care areas has been implemented, and Woman’s is providing Management of Aggressive Behavior (MOAB) training to nurses and other staff to help recognize, reduce, and manage violent and aggressive behavior they may encounter. The program also provides humane and compassionate methods of dealing with aggressive individuals.