How MLKCH Transitioned to an In-House Public Safety Department

When employees at Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital voiced frustration with contract security, CS Healthcare Director of the Year Mark Reed took matters into his own hands.

How MLKCH Transitioned to an In-House Public Safety Department

Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital, located in South Los Angeles, is a private, nonprofit general acute care hospital serving 1.35 million residents.

Additionally, in 2018, Hospital Incident Command System (HICS) training was provided to all management staff and the physician group through a partnership with the Hospital Association of Southern California (HASC).

As with the aforementioned partnership, Reed has established numerous relationships with community stakeholders outside the hospital that did not exist prior to the transition. His partnerships have included:

  • A collaborative relationship with Los Angeles County Sheriff Department and Los Angeles County Fire Department
  • Working with Los Angeles County to fix numerous deficiencies identified in a campus-wide lighting survey
  • Teaming up with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Los Angeles Joint Regional Intelligence Center to complete a hospital security assessment
  • A close relationship with Amateur Radio Emergency Services
  • Active shooter critical incident survival training provided to community partners such as local churches and schools

Many of these partnerships have provided best practices for Reed to use during the department transition.

“One of my favorite leadership qualities in Mark is that he partners well, both internally and externally, which has led MLKCH to additional opportunities to expand and continue to develop as the [public safety] program grows,” says Bobby Louissaint, former director of Johnson Controls Security Solutions.

Reed’s successful implementation of learned best practices was most recently recognized when the public safety department won Outstanding Security Team at the 2019 Outstanding Security Performance Awards (OSPA), a global awards program currently running in eight countries.

Technology Investments Strengthen Department

To further improve safety and security, Reed has invested heavily in technology to assist as a force multiplier for the department. He has installed 26 additional cameras with capital funding approval for 38 more this fiscal year.

Under Reed’s leadership, a new mass notification system was installed and hospital operators were trained on how to use it. Additionally, the hospital’s command center has been upgraded and remodeled to include a video wall.

Reed also implemented electronic incident reporting to identify, track and mitigate trends and incident rates. This has proven particularly helpful following the implementation of additional screenings of hospital visitors, including bag searches and utilizing handheld metal detectors.

In 2018, the department prevented 221 illegal narcotic introductions and 293 dangerous weapon introductions by screening visitors entering the emergency department.

Currently in the works are the integration of the access control system with the video management system and the installation of a dispatch software system to track all public safety officer interactions — ranging from property calls to escorting staff to their vehicles.

Between department training, internal and external partnerships, and technological improvements, Reed continues to show his dedication to his staff and the community MLKCH serves.

“Because of these efforts, Mark has earned the respect and gratitude of hospital leadership,” says Jonathan Westall, vice president of ancillary services at MLKCH. “Mark continues to inspire and motivate his staff and provide guidance to ensure that MLKCH is a safe environment for staff, patients and visitors.”

Click here or continue to Page 3 to check out some of Reed’s other accomplishments!

About the Author


Amy is Campus Safety’s Senior Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy’s mother, brother, sister-in-law and a handful of cousins are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

In her free time, Amy enjoys exploring the outdoors with her husband, her son and her dog.

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Campus Safety magazine is another great resource for public safety, security and emergency management professionals. It covers all aspects of campus safety, including access control, video surveillance, mass notification and security staff practices. Whether you work in K-12, higher ed, a hospital or corporation, Campus Safety magazine is here to help you do your job better!

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