Local health facility beefs up security, extra safety measures in place

JACKSON, Tenn — Additional policies and procedures are in place at a local health facility. The changes come after a stabbing and officer-involved shooting on Thanksgiving day last year.

Pathways Behavioral Health Services facility is beefing up their security. Officials say they already had an existing policy in place, but felt more measures are needed to ensure the safety of patients, visitors, and employees.

It was a Thanksgiving day no one expected. On November 24, 2016 officers responded to a stabbing incident at Pathways Behavioral Health Services facility. TBI agents confirmed the suspect, Don White, 45, was a patient at the facility when he stabbed a female worker several times. Officials say white was still stabbing the victim when police arrived.

The situation escalated resulting in at least one officer shooting the patient. White was taken to Jackson-Madison County General hospital, where he later died.

In the aftermath of that incident, health officials altered their policy and procedure manual. According to the handbook, the crisis triage will be manned by two staff members at all times instead of one. There should never be any time when personnel are left in the center alone with patients present.

The hospital also requested to have additional JPD officers on the Jackson-Madison County General Hospital campus.

Health officials added some additional safety measures for screening patients as they enter the building. Patients will have to empty their pockets and undergo a physical pat down, or officers will use security wands. Pathways staff have been instructed to go through all personal belongings. The items will be put on file through a patient valuables checklist.

If a patient refuses the search, staff won’t turn the person away instead the patient will remain under continuous observation during the entire visit.

To maintain the safety of all, each patient will be screened for risk factors for violent behavior while in the center. If a patient is identified as “high risk” staff will determine where the patient will be held until a crisis assessment is complete.

As for the facility, live feed cameras are placed throughout the center monitored by the Jackson-Madison County General hospital security department.

The changes were officially approved by Pathway’s Executive Director, Pam Henson, in February of this year.

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