Texas Health System Switches to Private Security Force

The change comes as the health system adds officers and improves training.

A Texas Health System announced it would no longer use police officers for security in its emergency department March 18.

The Good Shepherd Health System, which includes two medical centers and more than 30 provider locations in east Texas, said its private security staff has made “significant progress” in recent years, according to kilgorenewsherald.com.

Good Shepherd’s President and CEO Steve Altmiller said the system recently added 11 security officers in preparation for the change. Additionally, 21 members of the system’s private security team have completed specialized Satori Alternative to Managing Aggression (SAMA) training, which will help them manage behavioral health patients and aggressive visitors. The remaining security officers will be completing the training in the coming days.

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Previously, the system had employed off-duty officers from the Kilgore Police Department. Kilgore Police Lieutenant Tony Stone declined to comment on the decision.

“With the steps we are taking and have been able to put in place over the last several months, we feel this is the best solution for protecting our patients, staff members and visitors,” Altmiller said.

Altmiller added that Good Shepherd has hired a psychiatrist to its staff to develop protocols for de-escalating aggressive behavior.

Police will continue transporting and accompanying criminals at Good Shepherd locations.

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