Presque Isle hospital increasing security measures to deal with hostile patients

Posted Nov. 21, 2012, at 5:22 p.m.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Concerned about statewide increases in the number of patients who are combative or psychotic, The Aroostook Medical Center is introducing new security measures at the hospital, including an overnight lockdown of all entrances but the emergency room.

“The ongoing desire to keep staff, visitors and patients safe has led to the need to re-evaluate and improve security at the hospital,” Mark Bourgoin, manager of safety and security at TAMC, said in a press release.

While not citing any specific incidents at the Presque Isle facility, Bourgoin referenced the rising number of synthetic bath salts and other incidents in southern and central Maine, adding that the hospital wanted to be “proactive” and be set up for any type of security breach.

TAMC has had uniformed security officers on staff at the hospital to help keep patients and visitors safe since the 1980s. But for a year now, it has employed the private security services of Securitas, whose officers provide around-the-clock, 7-day-a-week coverage, and are specially trained and better equipped to deal with “antagonistic individuals and hostile situations,” according to the release.

And before the end of the year, new security measures will include locking all entrances at the hospital, with the exception of the emergency room, from 8 a.m. until morning.

The health care “campus is quite large and has a lot of entrances for employees, as well as visitors,” Barry Dombroski, Securitas Security supervisor, said in the release. “Locking down the facility at night is designed to help protect patients and overnight staff at the hospital.”

He said he also was looking to complement the existing video surveillance with additional camera coverage in the future. Dombroski said the cameras would provide an “extra level of protection for staff, visitors and patients.”

The Presque Isle hospital remains the only one north of Bangor providing around-the-clock uniformed security services seven days a week.

After the additional security measures are in place, visitors can still enter the hospital after hours through the emergency entrance, according to the press release. Visitors will simply need to sign in at the registration desk.

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