The law enforcement department in your community is a significant resource for healthcare in designing a united front in managing workplace violence. A strong and consistent relationship between the law enforcement leaders and the hospital leaders promotes safety for your institution and ensures a final process when violence occurs. Listed below are some actions/tactics to consider in your program:
- Develop a direct communication plan between the hospital and law enforcement to troubleshoot emergencies. Have the leaders from law enforcement and the hospital meet regularly, including frontline staff. Record meeting notes and send to the Environment of Care Committee for sharing and consistency.
- Consider including law enforcement in your security huddles.
- Develop a prior notification process with law enforcement that addresses incarcerated individuals or other persons in a “Not Free to Leave” status. This provides advance notice to the emergency department of a potential high-risk patient.
- If you have a hospital security department, consider making the security supervisor the point of contact for any officer coming to the hospital.
- A weapons policy that addresses managing a police officer’s weapon if they are injured and brought into the Emergency Department.
- Invite a leader from law enforcement to present at your Emergency Management Committee.
- Work with law enforcement to notify you of a crime taking place in your facilities neighborhood with a “suspect at large” (Potential for this person to enter your facility to hide), and provides an opportunity for the hospital to lockdown entrances as necessary.
- Contract with law enforcement to provide an on-site presence.
- Provide a quick checklist for employees to use when notifying the police of an incident that includes the information necessary for dispatch.
- Engage in training for an active shooter response with law enforcement to understand the differences in each entity’s response.
These are just a few of the actions that can be taken with your local law enforcement agency to improve the overall safety of your facility. Enlisting their assistance and creating a relationship is pivotal to a successful workplace violence program. Remember – most active shooter situations are over within 5 minutes or less. The hospital staff will be the first responders in these situations, and usually, the event is over before the police arrive. Lifesaving actions can be implemented to protect staff and patients. Training and drills are essential for ensuring your staff will remember what to do in an active shooter situation. Teaming up with your local law enforcement is not just necessary, it’s the right thing to do for your facility.