CARSON CITY — Carson City Hospital and Carson City Police Department have formed a unique collaboration to provide a better law enforcement presence after City Hall closes at 5 p.m.
The Community Policing Partnership, which begins in June, is designed to assist the city and hospital at the same time.
“It is a partnership that will enhance security at the hospital and enhance police presence in the city of Carson,” said Carson City Hospital Chief Operating Officer Matt Thompson.
Carson City Police Chief Bruce Partridge said there is always a finite amount of coverage with officers in the area. The partnership will assist in changing that.
“After City Hall closes at 5 p.m. we really don’t get any walk-in traffic,” Partridge said. “People don’t stop in because they don’t expect an officer to be here working on reports. They call us and we stop by.”
The partnership is similar to having officers hired to help with traffic during a large event. It will provide more of a visual law enforcement presence without costing the city financially.
“We are going to move to a satellite office at the hospital after 5 p.m.,” Partridge said. “Our cruiser will be parked right there. So, when people come to the ER, clinic or apothecary they will see the cruiser and know there is a law enforcement presence on the hospital campus.”
The hospital has seen an increase in activity after 5 p.m. and with possible cuts from a failed Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office law enforcement millage in February, a conversation began on what could be done for security and safety at Carson City Hospital.
“There are a lot of visitors in the hospital from 5 p.m. to around 10 p.m.,” Thompson said. “After midnight, we are on a skeletal crew and times have changed.”
According to Partridge, there has been an increase of activity at on the hospital campus.
“I wouldn’t say an increase in bad activity but just a lot more activity,” he said. “The emergency room is getting busier. And along with more people comes more people-related problems.”
The officer on duty would conduct normal duties throughout the town including being a security presence at the hospital.
“We are looking at this really as an extension of for the public to come an officer after 5 p.m.,” Thompson said.
With more of an officer presence from 5 p.m. through 5 a.m., the hospital will not have to hire an outside security system. The hospital will pay for the officer to be at the hospital from midnight until 5 a.m. at an average cost of $22 per hour.
“We are not hospital employees,” Partridge said. “We will be still performing our obligation to the community.”
Hiring a private security firm would have cost much more and it wouldn’t have provided the type of protection police provide.
“We really cannot afford to hire people just for security,” said Gary Sweet, accreditation manager for special projects at Carson City Hospital.
Thompson believes this is in the best interest of the hospital.
“The alternative was going to a security company, he said. “This is a much much lower, and better alternative to what I was facing.”