I don’t expect many of you to know that many hospital security officers succumb to ER violence yearly. Having worked several hospitals, including LA County USC +USC Med Ctr, I am keenly aware of the danger to medical and security staff. The reason is simple: often, police deposit very violent patients for medical treatment that aside from exhibiting violent behavior, have committed no crime, and are often in altered states. I call for a national security requirement that at minimum all ER’s have a minimum of (2) officers, at least one of which is armed. Many of you have witnessed even visitors under extreme stress, many themselves in intoxicated or drug-induced altered states.
It is not unusual for ER officers to have to resort to close-quarter physical contact at least 5 times a shift, each one increasing the risk of injury exponentially. Physical contact often involves applying restraints to combative patients. Complicating matters is that no matter how violent, ER patients are patients first, violators second. It is never as easy as ending a situation by applying handcuffs in ER settings, although sworn peace officers (LA County hospitals) have more liberty to do so, the presumption being that increased training allows for better judgement.
Despite being born male, 99% of the time I was perceived as female (yay!!) and I learned very quickly how much more effective female officers are in de-escalating combative situations. A perfect balance of strength and female sweetness made me an extremely effective ER officer, and I received many compliments from staff and visitors (except of course from unruly doctors who I didn’t personally know that expected me to just let them walk into the ER, which is of course a back-handed compliment of job well done).