UK adding security measures in response to up-tick in violence

Published 8:00 am Friday, June 17, 2022

LEXINGTON – University of Kentucky and UK HealthCare officials continue to add security measures, due to increasing reports of violence taking place across the nation in health care settings, and plan to invest more than $5 million in security enhancements.

On Friday, UK Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Mark F. Newman, M.D., and UK Police Chief Joe Monroe held a virtual forum for UK HealthCare employees, to discuss the ongoing work taking place to improve the safety and security of employees, patients and visitors at UK HealthCare facilities.

“Our goal is to provide a safe environment for patients, families and all who work and learn here in our facilities,” Newman said. “To do this, we are–and will be–continuously assessing and improving our comprehensive safety efforts.”

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During the past year, a security consultant has been working with the UK Police Department to complete the first phase of a continuous enterprise security review with an initial focus on enhancing perimeter security and fortifying the emergency departments at UK Chandler Hospital and UK Good Samaritan Hospital, according to Monroe.

“UK HealthCare and UK Police maintain a strong relationship, growing from a partnership that was established in the late 1990s to provide security officers throughout the enterprise,” Monroe stated.  “This partnership has grown to include physical security, video cameras, ID operations, emergency planning and response and dedicated police personnel.”

New safety enhancements include:

• Addition of UK Blue Emergency Towers to walkways where staff and patients travel frequently.

• Enhancement of exterior lighting to improve visibility around UK HealthCare facilities.

• Addition of electronic access control to all perimeter doors to restrict public access as well as replacement and modernization of aged entryways.

• Using emerging technology to enhance threat detection and expand panic alarms and lockdown capabilities.

• Increased security camera coverage to improve situational awareness.

Several operational enhancements and training programs also are planned or underway, including:

• Expansion of the UK HealthCare and UK Police Crisis Management and Preparedness partnership.

• De-escalation training, response to active aggressor training and prevention of workplace violence training.

• Piloting of a preventative program with UK Police Health Care Security at UK Good Samaritan Hospital.

Some security enhancements already have been put in place, including metal detectors, always having at least one police officer at emergency departments at both UK Chandler Hospital and UK Good Samaritan Hospital and annual workplace violence web-based training available for all ​staff.