Police on psych unit

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    I am looking for information related to allowing police onto the psych unit with their weapons. What are you all doing? Also if there is any relavent research out there. Thanks for helping as we explore this.
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  3. 7 Comments so far...

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    I've never worked anywhere (in a psych nsg. career of 25 years and counting) where police were allowed to bring their weapons on the unit. In different facilities at which I've worked, they've had to lock them in the trunk of their car before they came into the building, check them in to security or lock them up in the ED before they came any further into the hospital, or there's been a lockbox in the wall outside the door to the psych unit.

    I don't know about any published research, but I've never heard of a facility or unit being willing to have guns on the unit, even on a police officer's person, even briefly -- and I would not be willing to work in a setting that did allow it.
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    What an interesting question, diawc! And, what a good response from elkpark. Weapons on a Psych Unit. Potentially hazardous situation.

    You know, it makes me think. I want to give you a response before I discuss this topic with any of my colleagues, so my answer is fresh and off the top of my head.

    Back in the '80's, I worked on an unlocked Psych Unit. (I wonder if unlocked Psych Units still exist?) The County Police would transport the unmanageable patients to the State Mental Hospital. I remember the County Police wearing their weapons on the Unit.

    In the 90's, I worked at the State Mental Hospital. The Local, County, and State Police would all transport Patients to the Facility. They all wore their weapons. However, the Police did not specifically go on the Units. They accompanied the Patient to the Admission area.

    In the early 'aughts, I heard of one circumstance where the police were actually summoned to a locked Psych Unit. An RN contacted the Local Police, during her MN Shift, in an attempt to establish order. She believed, under the circumstances, that the action she chose was the best course to take. Interesting situation. But, I don't know if the responding officers wore their weapons on the Unit or not. I'm gonna hafta find out.

    I'll let you know. Until then, I'm gonna follow this interesting discussion.

    Thanks,

    Dave
    Last edit by Davey Do on Aug 23, '10
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    I work in a psych ER. We have a lockbox that we require all guns to be placed regardless if the police are in the ER or going to the units.
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    When I worked psych, no weapons were allowed on the units. I can maybe see a use for a Taser, but not for guns. Heaven forbid an officer would be overpowered and lose a weapon to a patient.
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    No weapons allowed on the unit where I work either. Can you imagine a pt getting hold of a police officers gun!? Scarrrrry!!!
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    Quote from diawc
    I am looking for information related to allowing police onto the psych unit with their weapons. What are you all doing? Also if there is any relavent research out there. Thanks for helping as we explore this.
    Well, if this were always the case it would have totally messed up the scene from Terminator 2.
    GeneralJinjur likes this.
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    Note: nothing below is meant to offend. It's simply insight pertaining to the subject matter of this thread.

    First, there's a misconception here about holsters. Not all holsters allow someone to remove the gun other than a trained individual. Some officers don't use them. Prepared officers do. There are holsters you could bolt to the ceiling, place the pistol in it, and then hang from the handle of the weapon without it coming out. End of that topic.

    Second, contact the departments likely to visit your facility and have something in writing with command. We'll cooperate.

    Third, never demand an officer surrender his weapon without the above. It's an insult and often unlikely to happen without a superior officer instructing him to.

    We're used to securing them for correctional facilities so going into a psych unit with a gun shouldn't be an issue. Try having a sign though so an officer knows ahead of time. If an out of town officer came to pick up someone then him or her seeing the sign would serve adequate notice. Popping out from behind a desk shouting "you can't bring your gun in here" isn't a pleasant experience for either party involved. I've only been in a true psych unit as a paramedic and not an officer. I have had a security guard at a hospital tell me in uniform that I couldn't carry my weapon inside. I simply said, "as a matter of fact I can" and shouldered past him. It's part of the law enforcement sub-culture. No one takes our weapon. It's a sensitive and personal topic.

    Some correctional facilities even require that officers secure their spare magazines (ammunition) as well as batons and so forth before entering.
    drmorton2b and canoehead like this.


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