UMC plans to establish its own armed security service - FOX34 Lubbock

UMC plans to establish its own armed security service

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Safety and security continue to be a major concern for UMC employees when filling out employee feedback surveys. The hospital is trying to allay those fears.

UMC plans to establish its own armed security staff based on employee feedback. It cited last year's Texas Tech active shooting incident and the death of Tech police officer Floyd East Junior.

"Unfortunately it is not uncommon to hear of disruptions, shootings, other acts of violence really at any place of business, but especially in a hospital," said Eric Finley, UMC marketing director. "So we want to make sure that our staff is as secure as possible."

Finley said the hospital's security department patrols the grounds and responds to any disruptions, but none of the guards are carrying a gun. UMC also has LPD presence in the building, usually in the emergency center. During the evening hours this unit patrols the front of the hospital and the lobby. Texas Tech Police also patrols the area as well.

UMC serves about 500 patients with more than 4,000 employees and thousands of visitors a day.

"A reliance on just a few LPD armed officers is really not good enough for our patients and employees," said Finley. "So we want to move towards an armed service that is part of the hospital and is here 24 hours a day." 

Finley says UMC is taking a proactive approach to assure the hospitals staff and patients are safe at all times. Along with the armed guards, the hospital plans to eventually establish its own police force by January 1, 2019.

UMC will go through an extensive process of training and certification offered by the Texas Private Security Bureau.  

In a statement the Lubbock Professional Police Association indicated it's very disappointed to hear of the plan. They state the difference in legal authority, training, and hands-on experience dealing with criminal investigations can not be under-stated.

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