UMC arms security guards in 2019, some officers upset with changes

KLBK News

University Medical Center is in the works of making their security services stronger by arming their security staff in January 2019. They think this will be the best way to keep everyone safe, but there are some people aren’t happy about the changes.

“Often we get violent people that come in. People who are mentally instable and people who are on drugs. When that happens often it will be a confrontational situation,” said Larry Manale, LPD Sergeant and UMC coordinator with off-duty LPD officers.

Eric Finely with UMC said on employee feedback surveys, security was the employees number one concern and UMC wants to fix that.

“Having just a couple of armed police officers really isn’t good enough anymore so we need to go this direction,” said Finely.

UMC has worked closely with the police department for about 20 years. They’ve hired off-duty officers to make sure the hospital is safe at all times.

“The people come in. They come in with a problem and they need help. What we do is make sure that they’re experience at UMC is as best as we can make it,” said Manale.

But after this is implemented, they’ll eventually phase out those officers and focus on having only level four armed security guards. 

 “We certainly do appreciate LPD and the resources they’ve given us the last 20 years. We’ve really worked closely with them. Those police officers that have worked in our building, typically the same ones, work when they can. So they really are a part of our family and so we’re going to be obviously sorry to see some of them go,” Finely said.

Mr. Manale doesn’t agree with getting rid of police officers on UMC’s campus. He said armed security guards can’t perform the same duties as peace officers and hopes UMC realizes it.

 “I hate to see that end. I mean I understand that sometimes a business. They want to make changes. It hurts me that they didn’t at least consult us,” Manale said, “They have no training on how to deal with the mentally ill, how to de-escalate situations because their job is not to be a police man it’s designed to be a security guard.”

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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