Transition to police department more than halfway complete
Reid Health newest graduates of the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, Officers Jeramiah Lawson, Jeremy Hicks, Dillon Pitcher, and David Jones, were sworn in on Dec. 28.
Feb. 26, 2021 -- With Friday's graduation of four more officers from the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, the Reid Health Police Department has crossed the halfway point in its transition from a security team.
Officers Jeremy Hicks, David Jones, Jeramiah Lawson, and Dillon Pitcher this week completed their eight weeks of training at the academy, bringing Reid's total number of certified police officers to 13.
The quartet is the second group of Reid security staff to go through the academy and become certified officers. Reid's Chief of Police, Randy Kolentus, hopes to send another three to four team members to training in May.
"At this point, our transition is moving along very well," he said. "We are getting officers from the Richmond and Connersville's campuses into and through the academy, and they are all doing very well.
"We are sending officers from each shift to help balance our police officer/security officer mix until all have completed the academy."
Another nine team members will need to undergo training at the academy before the transition to a police department is complete.
"At this point, our transition is moving along very well. We are getting officers from the Richmond and Connersville's campuses into and through the academy, and they are all doing very well." -- Randy Kolentus, Reid Health Chief of Police
"As we move forward, all officers will be required to complete additional annual training as police officers," Kolentus said.
"Hospital/healthcare police departments are very different from traditional police departments, and all the officers here at Reid Health understand that. Our officers work with all Reid staff, patients, visitors, and customers to support them and keep them safe."
Early last year, Reid began to transform 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 those 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.
The former Security Department has grown from nine officers in 2016 to 23 team members today as Reid's geographic footprint has increased and its number of staff has risen to some 3,400 people.
"I've very proud of our entire Police Department team," said Jennifer Ehlers, Reid Health Vice President/Chief Quality Officer. "We have outstanding officers who provide exceptional service to our patients, their families, and our staff."