Despite a series of violent incidents that left the staff rattled, leaders at Erlanger Health System in Chattanooga, TN, recently decided to soften the image of its security guards to convey a more “family-friendly” environment, according to news reports and staff complaints.
The hospital was in the news in 2014 when police fought with a crowd of more than 40 people outside of the emergency department after a shooting victim was brought to the hospital. A woman also was assaulted in the parking deck that year.
Erlanger staff members expected the hospital to strengthen its security, according to a report by the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Instead, Erlanger recently decided to disarm its security guards and replace their police-style, tactical uniforms with blazers for a more approachable look.
Some staff members rebelled and circulated a petition calling for more security. “We cannot decrease our personal safety to increase the appearance of political correctness,” the petition said. “By pushing the security of Erlanger Health System to be unarmed, you are directly placing your employees, patients and visitors in danger.”
Officials at Erlanger declined requests to comment for this article. The newspaper report is available online at http://tinyurl.com/oe2un7q.