INDIANAPOLIS — Someone opening fire in a hospital – it’s the kind of scenario that has some people very worried.
And that’s why state Senator Dennis Kruse has written a bill, Senate Bill 582, which he says would make hospitals safer.
“I think the issue’s big in America today, and I think people want to feel more secure when they go to public places,” said Sen. Kruse. “It would allow hospitals to set up kind of their own police department within each hospital, they’d have jurisdiction only within their premises.”
“I get a lot of people who say, ‘I wish we had that kind of a thing,’” said Jay Dotson, a former hospital security director, who now works for a company called Lighthouse Readiness Group, which puts on training exercises for area hospitals.
“(In) most of these cases where someone goes into a school, goes into a hospital and takes people’s lives by shooting them, if there’s someone who can stop them, they generally won’t do it,” Dotson said. “We rarely see someone doing that when there’s someone who could fight them back.”
“Really, I think the schools have better protection than hospitals, hospitals are basically wide open to everybody,” said Sen. Kruse, who has made headlines for authoring the marriage amendment, and a controversial bill requiring the Lord’s Prayer be read in Indiana schools.
Kruse said this bill seems to have bi-partisan support. It passed a Senate committee unanimously last week, and could be heard by the full Senate later this month.
“It’s an option for hospitals,” said Dotson. “It wouldn’t be something that is mandatory.”
“They also have a lot of patients that are mentally ill in the hospitals,” Kruse said. “Who knows, if somebody gives them the wrong kind of weapon, they could go berserk in the hospital, so I think in today’s world, it’s probably wise for the hospital to have better protection.”
“Currently, universities in the state of Indiana are allowed to have police departments, so it’s very similar to what the universities are allowed to do,” Dotson said. “It is going to cost money for an organization to do it, but to have the option is a good opportunity for them to improve their security.”