Swedish Medical Center arming guards with Tasers

by: John Knicely Updated:

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KIRO 7 found security guards at Swedish Hospital armed with Tasers on Tuesday.  Taser International confirmed it is making Swedish Medical Center the first in Seattle with Tasers for security guards.

KIRO 7 wanted to know why Swedish is arming its guards and why now, but calls, texts, and pages went unanswered Tuesday.

Taser International confirmed it is outfitting Swedish security guards with the X26P, its newest model.  A spokesman said Swedish did not order the cameras that can record the Taser activity.

Swedish joins 130 hospitals across the country supplied with security guard Tasers from Taser International.  That includes EvergreenHealth Medical Center in Kirkland and Madigan Army Medical Center.

Some people outside Swedish Hospital liked the idea.

“It seems it would be a good thing to have someone have a Taser,” said Isabell Andrews.  “It's much better than people running around with guns.”

Our region has seen security incidents at hospitals.

In April, a man carjacked an employee at EvergreenHealth Medical Center parking lot.

In November 2012, Chopper 7 was over Swedish Medical Center after reports of a man with a gun. Police never found him.

In December 2012 a man was arrested for assaulting two security guards at Virginia Mason Medical Center.  Virginia Mason guards do not have Tasers.

Despite those incidents, not everyone supports security with Tasers.

“I understand that,” Reilly Bates said, "but it seems a little extreme for a hospital.”