Nurses Fear for Safety After Hospital Replaces Police With Security Officers

In January, St. Joseph's Hospital stopped using off-duty police officers to guard its facility seven nights a week, and instead employed security guards to patrol Sunday through Wednesday evenings. The nurses' union is opposed to the change.

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ST. PAUL, Minn. — Nurses at St. Joseph’s Hospital are claiming that the recent changes in emergency room security are putting them at risk. In January, the hospital stopped using off-duty police officers to guard its facility seven nights a week, and instead employed security guards to patrol Sunday through Wednesday evenings.

Officials at St. Joseph’s say the change is part of an overall security improvement at the hospital, the Pioneer Press reports. According to Helen Strike, the hospital’s chief nursing officer, off-duty police still work at the facility Thursday through Saturday. Security officers work longer shifts than off-duty police and the emergency room has been upgraded to include security cameras, panic buttons and magnetic door locks.

The nurses’ union remains opposed to the change. It printed fliers this month urging the hospital’s operator, HealthEast, to reinstate the off-duty police officers.

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