MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Four security lockdowns in six months: Hennepin County Medical Center is seeing violence in the community come to its front door.
The latest lockdown happened Sunday night.
The hospital received reports of someone outside with a weapon after a shooting victim was brought to the emergency room. HCMC went into lockdown and within minutes the person with the weapon was in custody.
Hospital officials say they have lots of security in place and are looking to enhance it in the future. They say the hospital is safe because of a host of community partners that aid in protecting staff and patients alike.
“We live in a dynamic environment and a dynamic community, and I think as a level one trauma center…we are going to see that same kind of activity show up at our doors,” said Scott Wordelman, the hospital’s vice president of Ambulatory Administration.
He said the hospital has a close working relationship with Minneapolis Police Department and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office.
Officers and deputies can usually spot trouble gathering near a hospital, and that was the case Sunday night, when someone outside the emergency exit was seen with a weapon.
“Anytime we have an incident that rises to the point of concern, where there could be a safety issue, or security issue, we go into what we call a yellow alert,” Wordelman said.
This has happened four times in the past six months.
Wordelman says HCMC has safeguards in place, such as armed guards at every entrance and an enhanced camera system.
“We now have 24-hour deputy presence on the campus in partnership with the Hennepin County Sheriff,” he said.
Wordelman added that working with the community is key to keeping patients safe.
He says HCMC has partnered with members of the community to better understand what’s going on in the neighborhoods, in case it spills over near the hospital.
“The more knowledge we have of what may be happening in the community, the better prepared we can be,” Wordelman said.
HCMC has also put a communication system in place that allows them to immediately communicate to everyone on campus what the nature of the security issue is, so they can better respond to it.
Minneapolis police says it handles perimeter security for the hospital in times of lockdown, they also provide intelligence on what violent incidents in the community have the potential to spill over to hospital.