The Kentucky State Police has begun supplying a continuous security presence at regional hospitals across the state.
Trooper Corey King, public affairs officer for KSP in Henderson, said troopers have been assigned to Owensboro Health, Ohio County Hospital, and hospitals in Henderson and Union County, which are part of the Henderson post’s coverage area.
“It is going to be around the clock,” King said.
The move is part of a statewide KSP plan to keep troopers at hospitals across the state as the coronavirus outbreak continues.
“Our mission hasn’t changed,” King said Wednesday. “We are focusing on what’s vitally important right now.”
The state police are implementing a previously developed contingency plan for hospital security. King said. At regional hospitals, the plan is to have at least one trooper on-site at all times to handle any potential disruptions.
“Due to the emotion and the increase in bed spaces and beds being used, there is the possibility of something happening” among patients or people trying to visit patients in locked-down hospitals, King said. If a person is anxious, such as when they are not able to visit a sick relative, “sometimes, they resort to violence,” he said.
The KSP presence is intended to be a comfort to the hospital medical staff by reducing the chance of a disruption interfering with physicians and nurses attending to their duties, King said.
“They need to be focused on the life-saving measures of the patients,” King said.
Hospitals are “where lives are saved,” and troopers will be on hand to maintain order, he said.
“This is a true health crisis, and your hospital is your most vital resource and your most sacred place at this point,” he said.
But assigning troopers to hospitals will have an impact on the number of troopers who are available for patrol.
“Our limited resources are stretched further,” he said.
The public can assist by practicing social distancing at home and not being out during peak hours, King said.
“It would really help us out.”
James Mayse, 270-691-7303, firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @JamesMayse