CLEARFIELD COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) – Starting this summer, the City of DuBois police department will provide 24/7 police officer coverage at the east and west campuses of its Penn Highlands hospitals.
Something Rhonda Halsted, vice president of support services at Penn Highlands DuBois, and president of PH Clearfield says will benefit more than just their locations.
“Any time we we can partner with the community and improve the safety of our healthcare system, it’s a win-win for everyone,” Halstead said.
The move comes in response to the growth of Penn Highlands emergency department, as well as increasing patient volume and the hospitals expansion of its behavioral services.
Clearfield County district attorney Ryan Sayers says explained that by having officers already on campus, it will free up time for other officers to focus on their daily patrol.
“Instead of having to respond to calls, there will already be someone there before the incident may have escalated. So I think this is really a beautiful marriage as it’s been described,” Sayers said.
We’re told an officer called to a Penn Highlands facility three times a week on average. Reasons range anywhere from helping to calm situations of mental health crisis, to a staff member being assaulted.
DuBois police are looking to hire up to six full time officers for this 24/7 protection. The officers will work in conjunction with current hospital security. Assistant chief Dustin Roy told WTAJ this will be a slow phase in process until all six spots are filled, as it has not been easy to fill those roles.
“In years past her we would have 30 something applicants, this past test I believe there was 10,” Roy said.
He also added there is an issue of finding individuals looking to enter a career in law enforcement across the country. They have narrowed the group of 10 down to six potential officers under review. But adds they will likely have to seek more applicants for the position again later this year.
“We’re hoping to have enough, but it looks like we’re probably going to have to test again,” Roy said.
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