A Snohomish County hospital has taken security to the next level.
After several instances of knives being pulled on security officers, Providence Medical Center in Everett has installed a metal detector and armed officers with Tasers.
Incidents involve anyone from unruly patients usually suffering from mental illness to people walking in off the street.
There were 20 meetings between hospital administrators and employees who work in the ER.
Together they came up with a list of 60 things to address, and at the top of that list was a metal detector.
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“So this is new. I want you to take all your metal items and stick them in here,” security officer Chad Lisenby said as he moved people through the new metal detector.
In the 12 years Lisenby has worked in security at Providence Medical Center, this is the first week he’s ever been able to utter that phrase, and it's the first week he’s ever had an additional tool to de-escalate on his tool belt.
“I’m very happy with the changes that we’re making,” Lisenby told us, laughing.
He was laughing because — he said — that’s an understatement.
Lisenby has had knives pulled on him, blood splattered on him, and now he has resources to protect against that.
He’s happily directing Emergency Room visitors and patients through the hospital's new metal detectors and carrying a Taser — in lieu of pepper spray -- he hopes he’ll never have to use.
“We felt like it was time this year to start screening for weapons just to take that additional risk away of having weapons in the emergency room,” explained Darren Redick, vice president of support services at Providence.
He said before this week, ER staff simply asked patients and guests if they had any weapons, and they only got a badge if they were visiting after hours.
“It was not as thorough and I think what we found is, as well as that’s worked in the past, just with the sheer numbers of people and knives that people are carrying, we’re not catching them all,” Redick said.
The hospital has been working to implement these new safety measures since February, and in the first week there’s already been some success.
And Lisenby is finally feeling some relief.
“It’s surprising how many people walk in, see us, turn around and walk back out and then come back in a little later. So I think that’s kind of proof positive what we’re doing and why we’re doing it,” he concluded.
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