by Justin Kree
ODESSA - Medical Center Hospital in Odessa is taking measures to keep staff and patients safe. Having their own police force at the hospital is something unique to the area.
Medical Center Hospital wanted to follow four other hospital districts around the state and provide their own police force. Hospitals went to the state legislature to propose a bill that would allow them to get their own department. In September of 2011, the bill was signed that put the force in place.
"When there is something that happens on campus, we need an immediate response. Sometimes the local police departments may not have time or they may take a while to get here, so that's why we developed ours for more proactive measures," Brad Timmons, Chief of Police for the Ector County Hospital District, said.
The force has 11 certified state officers and 13 security officers. They come equipped with security vehicles and even an electronic scooter to get around Medical Center's five locations.
The population is growing in Odessa which means crime is on the rise too. Timmons says it was time the hospital had its own police force.
"Population increase and the amount of calls the Odessa Police Department gets, we felt like it would be a good idea for our hospital and the community. We are also a good neighbor to the police department and Sheriffs Office," Timmons said.
After the bus and train accident in Penwell earlier this month, the inmate patients were brought to Medical Center Hospital. Timmons said the police force did what they were trained to do that day and everyone was kept safe.
"We provided a sense of security because the TDCJ (Texas Department of Criminal Justice) wasn't here immediately," Timmons said.