Federal security grant funding going to local hospitals to boost safety measures

MARYLAND- With the climate of the world today, hospital security staff are doing what they can to make sure visitors and workers feel safe.

“There was a study done and released last year, 47% increase in violent crimes in the hospital setting,” John Massey, Security and Emergency Management Manager at Atlantic General Hospital, said. “As you can relay in the last year, we’ve had several hospitals that have had some shootings.”

“Violence is not just someone coming in physically hurting somebody,work place violence is bad behaviors, it,s yelling, screaming, cussing at staff members; it’s refusing to do what you’re asked and we are seeing this trend up tick not only here at TidalHealth but across the country,” Bo Kennedy, Chief of Special Police at TidalHealth, said.

Federal Homeland security grant funds will help hospital staff in this effort. TidalHealth and Atlantic General Hospital were two out of 68 Maryland non-profit organizations getting a slice of the $8.7 million to help secure their facilities in order to prevent or minimize the consequences of any possible attack. “Part of our plan is to update our camera system to the newest technology,” Chief Kennedy said. “And then, also we are looking at the ballistic type material.”

Atlantic General said they will also use some of the money to increase security presence through surveillance. “What we are going to be doing with the grant money this year of $134,000 will be to increase our security presence through surveillance techniques, as well as a new badging procedure and process for our credentialing,” Massey said. “The inner operability that we are going to have to be able to share this video and also the intelligence with local law enforcement community is very helpful.”

AGH says having these extra resources will be a plus as they have many patients from all over the country. “We have a lot of population that goes to Ocean City which increases from around 15,000 people a year to 300,000, so this hospital is the closest to the beach,” Massey said.

While these federal dollars will give hospital security a leg up, Chief Kennedy is encouraging if you see something, say something, and to try to have a plan.

“We want to get ahead of these things and prevent things from happening than to be reactive after something happens,” Chief Kennedy said.

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