Anderson IN Nov 14 2017 Nine officers were sworn in on Friday to a newly-formed police department at Community Hospital Anderson in Anderson, Indiana.
The previous director of security, Phillip Caldwell, will now serve as chief after spearheading the establishment of the police department. Caldwell is a former Elwood police chief, reports the Herald Bulletin.
Indiana Senate Bill 582, signed into a law in 2014 by former governor Mike Pence, enables hospitals to create their own police departments and allows them full police powers.
Several other hospitals in Indiana have also formed police departments, including Indiana University Health Ball Memorial Hospital and Parkview Health.
In 2014, Ball Memorial Hospital hired 37 part-time, sworn-in law enforcement officers, all of whom had to attend the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy.
Prior to the new CHA police department, officers from local community police departments worked security at the hospital. However, they would sometimes have to leave the hospital if an emergency happened in the town or city where they were employed.
“Health care is different than when you are out in the community. So having (officers) dedicated to the kind of business we do and the sensitivity to patients and visitors … will really provide a much better service to our patients and our families,” says Community Hospital CEO Beth Tharp.
Tharp says all of its sworn-in officers have past experience with community policing and will receive additional training on de-escalation.
“(The difference is) you’re a police officer, but you’re more of a community relations and caregiver position,” says Caldwell. “In a hospital environment, you deal with a lot of emotionally unstable people and also mentally unstable (people). You receive additional training, and it helps nurture that environment.”
Caldwell also says the new police department is eligible for federal and state funding for its officers’ training and equipment.
The other eight officers who were sworn in are James Robertson, Zach Taylor, Richard Stires, Pat Kane, Steve Christian, Frank Ward, James Brizendine and Cory Grubb. They will be joined by Dylan Downey who is expected to be sworn in on November 20.