A former security guard is speaking out about a Montgomery hospital's new security methods that require officers to use non-violent techniques against combative patients. He says it's putting officers' lives at risk.
"What's changed is a policy has come out that we could no longer handcuff a patient," says a former Baptist South security officer who wants to remain anonymous. "The question was asked what if one of [the patients] stabbed or shot somebody, and the policy and statements say that under no circumstance can you handcuff a patient, and that puts everybody in jeopardy."
Since last year, Baptist South Security guards, who all have law enforcement experience, are required to use CPI, a non-violent crisis prevention technique.
The goal is to provide personnel with the skills to safely and effectively respond to hostile or violent behavior. The officer says security can no longer carry tasers or handcuffs. The only weapon he says officers can carry is a gun. He says many times, the officers face psychiatric patients.
"When someone is wanting to hurt you, it doesn't work. They know it doesn't work. After that, the only option we have, the only other equipment they give us to use is a firearm," he says.
This is a stack of Baptist South incident reports that he provided us involving combative patients from the last year. One report states a patient struck a nurse, and this one says a patient threatened nurses with a steel pipe. Some reports state the officer was injured or did seek medical treatment.
"We went to having a few hurt every few months to two or three hurt every month if not more than that," he says. "I've been hurt. I've been punched in the face one time from a patient, and I've had injuries from scuffling with a patient."
Baptist Health did release a statement:
The safety and protection of our patients and employees is always our greatest concern. The security officers at Baptist Health are well-trained in and use techniques offered from CPI (Crisis Prevention Institute), the industry standard committed to best practices and safe behavior management methods that focus on prevention. These processes help promote the welfare and safety of our patients. We utilize De-escalation techniques for personal safety using nonviolent crisis intervention. We also use a team approach. When these techniques are used properly they work, but there is always a chance of injury in escalated situations on or off the job.
I'd encourage you to take a look at the CPI website for more information about how our security officers are trained:
The former security guard says the three years that he was there and could carry a taser and handcuffs, injuries were rare, and he only used his taser three times.
He also says he knows of two officers who have had to undergo surgery after a patient hurt them.