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Local hospitals make security changes in wake of 2022 Saint Francis mass shooting

Hillcrest Medical Center
Posted at 3:02 PM, Jun 01, 2023

TULSA, Okla. — Hospitals and medical centers have traditionally been known to be open and easily accessible places, but since the mass shooting at Saint Francis, other local hospitals have placed more importance on security.

"It's really a terrible event that happened. It's one of those that makes us realize that it could happen to any of us at any time," said Xavier Villarreal, the CEO of Hillcrest Medical Center.

It's been one year since the shooting at the Natalie building on the Saint Francis campus.

In the last year, Villarreal said they have made a handful of security changes.

"We've really been focused on making sure our entrances are secure and that we have the ability to lock down the facility quickly," Villarreal said.

Hillcrest Medical Center has:

  • Increased their number of armed security officers to make sure every entrance is covered with an officer,
  • they've held active shooter training and
  • restricted traffic and access in certain areas of the hospital.

Other Hillcrest properties have also made changes, including installing more panic buttons, more strike locks, and more magnetic door openers.
While many changes have already been made, others are still a work in progress.

"With some of our camera systems that are outdated that we need to update, and make sure we have eyes and access points not only in the buildings but outside the buildings as well," Villarreal said.

Over at Ascension Saint John, the security team has made adjustments to where their officers patrol.

"We've started putting more officers in certain areas and rounding in other areas more frequently," said Darrel Long, the Director of Security with Ascension Saint John.

Plus, Ascension Saint John recently received more than $400,000 in grant money for an interactive virtual training system, among other equipment updates.

"It's going to help train the officers in de-escalation and how to respond in these difficult situations," Long said.

While the grant money and upgrades were in the works before the shooting at Saint Francis, it's become even more important since seeing that happen so close to home.

As both hospitals work to make upgrades, the goal is to be prepared in case the unthinkable happens to them.

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