16 Features of Effective Hospital-Police Partnerships

These features serve as a useful checklist for hospital officials evaluating their relationships with local law enforcement agencies.

16 Features of Effective Hospital-Police Partnerships

Minnesota health care and law enforcement officials recently released a resource listing best practices for hospitals working with law enforcement agencies.

The Health Care and Law Enforcement Collaboration Road Map is the result of a joint effort involving the Minnesota Hospital Association, the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association.

Organized as a set of standards for hospital officials to consider implementing at their facilities, the road map gives 16 features of effective partnerships with law enforcement. It can also be used to enhance workplace violence prevention efforts and accompanying gap analysis.

“Road maps reflect published literature and guidance from relevant professional organizations and regulatory agencies, as well as identified proven practices,” the document states.

Many of the features below “generally have a strong evidence base in published literature in addition to being supported by multiple professional bodies and regulatory agencies.”

We’ve separated the road map into sections based on the category of the standard.

Interdisciplinary Safety Team Including Law Enforcement Partners

1. The healthcare organization has an interdisciplinary team involved in developing and overseeing a communications plan with law enforcement to maintain 24-hour operations. Some features of a communications plan include:

  • Direct communication is set up between hospital and law enforcement leaders to troubleshoot emergency situations
  • A public communication strategy is established
  • Health care, law enforcement leaders and frontline staff meet regularly and routinely

2. The healthcare organization may contract or set-up an agreement to have law enforcement on site.

3. The health care organization may include law enforcement in high risk cases or security huddles.

4. The health care organization has a prior notification of arrival process in place with law enforcement. The process specifies exchange of safety information. Prior notification before arrival may occur in, but is not limited to, the following situations:

  • Incarcerated person in need of health care services
  • Person in a “Not Free to Leave” status needs health care services
  • Person arriving under a peace officer or health officer authority

5. The health care organization has developed and implemented a security plan. Development and implementation of the security plan should include the following:

  • A designated leader for the security plan
  • Dedicated time for the leader to develop, train staff, implement and review plan
  • Policies and procedures to address all aspects of hospital security
  • If security staff is contracted, hospital will validate that contracting agency has provided appropriate health care training

6. The health care organization has a process in place to provide information sharing with law enforcement, which complies with HIPAA and the Minnesota Health Records Act.

7. The health care organization has a communication process in place with law enforcement to receive the results of a public safety risk assessment conducted on all individuals brought to the hospital by law enforcement. The public safety risk assessment will consider the following:

  • Mobility of the individual
  • Potential for the individual to become violent

8. The health care organization collaborates with the law enforcement organization to ensure a police officer, deputy and/or correction officer is present during the hospital stay if a person is determined to be in “Not Free to Leave” status during the hospital stay due to violence or other public safety factors. The law enforcement organization ensures the officer is in uniform with a level 2 or greater law enforcement restraint (holster and lock) and is present with the individual at all times. Exceptions to a police officer’s presence include:

  • A person being intubated
  • A person in surgery
  • A person who is immobile
  • A person in any other incapacity

9. The health care organization has developed and implemented a security program. A security program is more advanced than a security plan and may include a security department and employed and licensed security officers.

Emergency Holds and Peace Officer/Health Officer Authority

10. The health care organization has a process in place to ensure staff safely receive a person under a peace officer authority and a safe waiting space is provided by the hospital for the patient and staff. An example of a safe space includes safe rooms.

11. If a person under an emergency admission leaves a treatment facility without consent or is discharged during a 72-hour hold, the health care organization has a process in place to notify the law enforcement organization that transported the person. The health care organization has a process in place to collect contact information of the law enforcement organization upon admission (i.e. registry).

12. The health care organization designs spaces that provide safety and security to patients, families and providers while creating a compassionate and healing environment. Safety design may include de-escalation design and high security rooms.

Child Protective Services

13. The health care organization has a process in place to notify child protective services and law enforcement if mandated reporting of maltreatment of a minor occurs.

14. The health care organization has a process in place to ensure law enforcement communicates when a child is taken into custody and clinical patient care staff are trained on protocols for taking a child into custody and removing the child from family and/or a guardian.

Medical Evidence Recovery

15. The health care organization has a process in place to respond to court orders if a response is required. Court orders should include the name of the facility and address. A copy of the court order should be shown to the health care organization.

16. The health care organization collaborates with law enforcement to provide training to clinical patient care staff on cross-contamination prevention techniques for medical evidence recovery.

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About the Author


Zach Winn is a journalist living in the Boston area. He was previously a reporter for Wicked Local and graduated from Keene State College in 2014, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism and minoring in political science.

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One response to “16 Features of Effective Hospital-Police Partnerships”

  1. I have a friend in med school hoping to become a doctor. Emergency preparedness is very important to her so she wanted to know about how to hospital interacts with the law in the case of emergencies. It’s so interesting the direct communication is set up between hospital sand law enforcement during emergencies.

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