Here’s to You Mr. Robinson

Alan Robinson, director of protection and security services for Morristown, N.J.-based Atlantic Health beat out some stiff competition to capture the first annual Campus Safety Director of the Year/Healthcare award. Discover what made him a winner.

With nearly 8,500 staff, more than 1,500 beds, and about 7.1 million square feet of physical plant and campus spread out over three counties, Morristown, N.J.-based Atlantic Health is no small-time healthcare establishment. And its Director of Protection and Security Services Alan Robinson has some pretty big-time responsibilities.

Atlantic Health’s largest location, Morristown Memorial Hospital, performs the second most heart surgeries of any healthcare organization in the New York Metropolitan area. Not to be outdone, Morristown Memorial’s sister facility, Overlook Hospital, is a regional leader in comprehensive stroke care and neuroscience. Atlantic Health’s other hospitals and programs, which include Mountainside Hospital, Goryeb Children’s Hospital, the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center and the Gagnon Heart Hospital now under construction in Morristown, also provide world-class care to patients from Northern and central New Jersey, as well as New York City.

But with the Big Apple being only 15 air miles away and with Washington D.C., and four state capitals also in close proximity (a three-hour drive), safety, security and the possibility of another terrorist attack remain at the top of everyone’s list of concerns.

Indeed, this organization knows firsthand how a healthcare provider can be affected when a major terrorist incident occurs nearby. Morristown Memorial treated dozens of 9/11 victims, including 11 U.S. Secret Service agents who had been displaced from their field office at the World Trade Center. Additionally, Atlantic Health’s security personnel were directly involved with crowd control immediately after the attack when hundreds of community volunteers went to Atlantic Health’s hospitals to donate blood.

Weeks later, the same security personnel helped manage the dozens of “worried well” who believed they had been exposed to anthrax.

Events like these are what truly test the competency, professionalism and commitment of campus law enforcement, and it takes a highly effective security director or police chief to lead the troops. Robinson was just the person Atlantic Health needed during one of our nation’s most troubling times.

Since then he has worked to further train and augment the professionalism of the more than 100 security, investigator, fire safety, emergency management and contract law enforcement officers who either directly or indirectly report to him — all while keeping turnover to a minimum and morale high. Additionally, he and his department have successfully solicited grants in excess of $2 million to improve safety and security at all of Atlantic Health’s locations. Robinson has also incorporated several innovative solutions and cost-saving measures that have made his department as well as the entire Atlantic Health organization leaner, more flexible and better able to respond to whatever safety and security situations may arise.

It is for these reasons that Robinson has been selected to receive the first Campus Safety Director of the Year/ Healthcare award.

Significant Improvements Implemented Before, After 9/11

Prior to 9/11, Robinson had already transitioned his department from using outsourced guards to having in-house, professional security officers. Before the terrorist attacks, Atlantic Health’s security officers were trained in bioterrorism, bomb threat management, hostage handling, incident command, media management, patient decontamination, security/crime prevention, emergency management, fire safety and investigations. No doubt, this training helped Robinson’s employees handle the events of 9/11.

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About the Author

robin hattersley headshot

Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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