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Prisoner Takes Gun From Deputy and Shoots Unarmed Security Officer

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  • Prisoner Takes Gun From Deputy and Shoots Unarmed Security Officer

    Blacksburg, VA

    Student, who was taken to the hospital for a leg injury, overpowered a Deputy Sheriff, took his gun and shot an unarmed Hospital Security Officer. This situation could have been avoided by:

    1. Not introducing a firearm into an environment where psychiatric patients are present.
    2. Handgun retention refresher training along with holsters that prevent an offender from taking a firearm.

    Many LEO's are hesitant to relinquish their firearm, but it's required at the jail, psychiatric hospitals and other mental health facilities. We may want to explore the options of checking weapons prior to entering treatment areas in ER's. I know this will be an inflammatory issue with the Law Enforcement Community, but I have been directly involved in two situations where a handgun was taken by a patient due to poor training and not being situation ally aware. Any thoughts?

  • #2
    You can't make them. Period. Its been tried, usually with the result of the hospital security staff cited or arrested for "obstruction of justice." Police Officers feel naked without their firearms, and will arrest anyone who demands they remove them before coming to the facility to perform their lawful duties.

    In Mental Health Care facilities in Wisconsin, federal and state law requires security officers or law enforcement officers providing security functions to disarm. However, this cannot be applied to on-duty LEOs who arrive as part of their lawful duties. It is stressed to healthcare providers that:

    1) You can't make them disarm, and they can arrest you if you deny them entry.

    2) You should bring the patient or persons they are there to interact with outside the hospital facility.

    3) They can arrest you if you interfere with them. Period.
    Some Kind of Commando Leader

    "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

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    • #3
      At our Mental Health Facility it is asked that any LEO who is not there to respond to an emergency should disarm and lock their weapon in their vehicle or our Jail-like lockboxes. They can refuse, and if they do we ask them to stay out of any scraps where a patient becomes combative so we do not have an officer's weapon turned against us.
      "Alright guys listen up, ya'll have probably heard this before, Jackson vs. Securiplex corporation; I am a private security officer, I have no State or governmental authority. I stand as an ordinary citizen. I have no right to; detain, interrogate or otherwise interfere with your personal property-... basically all that means is I'm a cop."-Officer Ernie
      "The Curve" 1998

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      • #4
        Unless specifically spelled out in state law, or by the PD policies, you won't get a leo to remove his/her weapon prior to entry. They're just not going to do so, and shouldn't necessarily be required or requested to do so.

        The fact that a suspect disarms an officer is not enough of a reason to generally require them to disarm. I would look at the circumstances in detail as to how the officer was able to be disarmed in the first place and determine solutions that will reduce the set of circumstances from being repeated in the future.
        "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." -Aristotle

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        • #5
          In most cases, the only time a LEO must give up his weapon in the ER is if he comes in as a patient. In most cases, that is done by his supervision prior to arrival at the ER.
          Enjoy the day,
          Bill

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          • #6
            Thanks for the Advice

            I certainly would not advocate any security staff to request a LEO disarm prior to entering the ER (although I've seen LEO's do this when we expect a combative confrontation). I am, however, aware of at least three separate local situations where a commitment patient disarmed a LEO and used the gun to kill two hospital employees within the last year.

            As far as analyzing the problem:

            1. The firearm was in the environment where psychiatric patients are located.
            2. The officer did not have an adequate retention holster.
            3. Handgun retention training was taught in the intial BLET course, and not refreshed frequently enough.

            I am also aware of Jail policy where LEO's must check their weapon prior to entering a jail for safety reasons. The municipalities and counties require this.

            Most of the hospitals in my location, and fairly soon mine, will be sending Security Officers through BLET to become certified Special Police. At least this way, we can defend ourselves if a psyche patient gets someones firearm. I think this transition will be beneficial. The requirements through the state Justice Academy, are even more stringent than local law enforcement (no academies, just BLET cert). The Education and Training standards will require a more comprehensive background check including a polygraph examination. It all really comes down to cost. Having your own Hospital Police force can be expensive, so we really need to analyze the cost / benefit.

            Thanks again for the input.

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            • #7
              You should not require police authority to defend yourself or another from a deadly force encounter. Period. The benefits of state-derived special police powers include blanket immunity from criminal/civil liability, codified arrest powers, and ability to give lawful orders.

              The downside is that each officer is commissioned to uphold the law and can no longer "internally handle" incidents. Some clients demand their security force use a non-judicial solution to petty crimes. A prime example of this is the Hilton Hotel Chain. If a customer is creating a breach of the peace, they are placed back into their room without enforcement action taken. If a law enforcement officer working as hotel security observes this, Hilton fears their good reputation may be jeapordized due to the law enforcement officer requiring to take police action against the customer.
              Some Kind of Commando Leader

              "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

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              • #8
                Most recommended guidelines for "forensic patients" ie prisoners require TWO armed escorts.
                One is ALWAYS out of the patients reach with either hand on firearm or firearm drawn while the other officer manipulates cuffs etc.

                If you have to cuff patient to bed or whatever the best way is have additional cuffs onhand. Leave initial cuffs on..another cuff to one arm then cuffed to bed (must drag bed to escape if he can get past other armed office)..hospital restraint to other arm then uncuffed, pulled to other side then recuffed.

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                • #9
                  I read about this story when it happened. Hearing about liberal gun control policies as a solution to the perceived problem makes my skin crawl. I shall not say anymore since that is a controversial debate.
                  "We appreciate all the hard work you've done, the dedicated hours you have worked, and the lives you have saved. However, since this is your third time being late to work, we are terminating your employment here."

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