Latest Reid Health police officers sworn in
Reid Health President/CEO Craig Kinyon (left) swears in four new police officers, Jeramiah Lawson, Jeremy Hicks, Dillon Pitcher and David Jones.
Four more Reid Health Police Department officers are on their way to the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in January after a formal swearing-in ceremony Monday.
Officers Jeremy Hicks, David Jones, Jeramiah Lawson and Dillon Pitcher will be the second class of Reid officers to be sent to the academy, following in the footsteps of four others who graduated earlier this month.
This latest group will take part in the eight-week course and return to Reid in March as certified police officers.
The ceremony brings the total number of people to be sworn in since the department's creation in February to 14, according to Randy Kolentus, Chief of Police for Reid. The first five officers to join the department had previous law enforcement experience and therefore didn't need to attend the academy.
"This is another big step for our planned transition to a full police department," Kolentus said. "This still leaves us 11 officers who we will send to the academy, hopefully several more of them yet in 2021."
In early 2020, Reid Health transformed its security team to a police department, joining other health systems around the state. The move is intended to enhance the security and safety of the patients, visitors, staff and community members who use Reid services.
The change reflects the growth of the health system and the accompanying increase in the need for police assistance. When the move to establish the department first was announced, Kolentus noted the Richmond Police Department responded to Reid calls almost 900 times in 2019.
"I'm very proud of these gentlemen. While they have a lot of hard work in front of them at the academy, I have no doubt they will all be successful!" -- Jennifer Ehlers, Reid Health Vice President/Chief Quality Officer
Becoming a police force means increased training and certifications for Reid's security staff. It also provides officers with arrest authority and allows them to deal more effectively with an increasing number of potentially violent incidents.
The former Security Department has grown from nine officers in 2016 to more than twice that today as Reid's geographic footprint has increased and its number of team members has risen to some 3,400.
"We appreciate all of the officers and their loved ones who came out today to celebrate," said Jennifer Ehlers, Reid Health Vice President/Chief Quality Officer. "I'm very proud of these gentlemen. While they have a lot of hard work in front of them at the academy, I have no doubt they will all be successful!"