Newly formed Memorial Hospital Police Department has officers sw - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Newly formed Memorial Hospital Police Department has officers sworn in

Posted:
SOUTH BEND - There's a new group of police officers in South Bend. On Thursday afternoon, the Memorial Hospital Police Department welcomed eight officers to the newly formed force.

A state law passed on July 1, 2013 gave hospitals the power to create a police unit of their own. Indiana became the 29th state to pass such a law. After 15 months of organizing, the officers of Memorial Hospital of South Bend were sworn in.

"I don't know if it's more excitement or more the realization that we have work to do," Memorial Hospital Chief of Police Daniel Rutledge said.

The officers will have the same powers as any other local police agency. They can make arrests on hospital grounds, conduct investigations and send cases to the Prosecutor's Office. The officers will patrol the 20 buildings including the grounds and parking garages that make up the Memorial Hospital and Epworth Hospital campuses. They are also considered employees of the hospital.

The newly formed department says there were no specific events that led to the creation of the unit. It was done more so because there was law allowing it and meant Memorial security could better serve the community. "This right here by law gives us the best that we can. The best in education, the best in training, the best resources available to us is what we now have by doing this," Rutledge said.

The officers all completed a basic training course at the St. Joseph County Police Department. One of the eight officers sworn in was Assistant Chief Craig Whitfield who is no stranger to the badge. "This is my second swearing in ceremony. I'm a retired Mishawaka police officer so I've been retired just long enough that I get to go back to the academy and freshen up a little bit," Whitfield said.

Whitfield says the power and authority given to the Memorial Hospital Police Department will allow security to have a higher level of training and higher level of interaction with other law enforcement agencies. "Whether you're in the municipality as a police officer, on the sheriff's department as an officer, or in a hospital setting, you're here to help people and that's exactly what we want to accomplish," Whitfield said.

The officers will now go to the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in Plainfield for additional training. Memorial Hospital joins IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie as the only other hospital in the state to create their own police force. Fort Wayne is expected to do the same in about a month.

Powered by WorldNow

Fox 28

WSJV-TV FOX 28
58096 County Road 7, South
Elkhart, IN 46517

Switchboard: 574.679.9758
News Phone: 574.679.4545
Station Fax: 574.294.1267
Email: fox28news@fox28.com

All content ©Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WSJV. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Heather Stewart at (574) 343-5310. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at fccinfo@fcc.gov.