The Palm Beach County hospital decided to remove metal detectors in the building and armed police officers are no longer stationed in the emergency room.
Doctors and nurses at JFK Medical Center in Palm Beach County, Florida are feeling unsafe after recent security changes made at the hospital.
Metal detectors have been removed from the entrances of the building and police officers were pulled from inside the emergency room, reports WPTV.
Hospital staff said the metal detectors were a necessary security measure because of the mental health unit in the building. They received a letter from the hospital on June 28 confirming the detectors were removed.
“We are always looking for ways to enhance and improve our patient and visitor experience at our hospitals. That includes making them feel welcome and listening to their feedback,” the letter said.
JFK has not answered WPTV’s question on what prompted the security changes and, in an email, said, “We will not be providing a statement or answering any questions at this time.”
For the last three years, officers have been contracted to be inside the emergency room 24/7, said Robert Mangold, Chief of the Atlantis Police Department.
“We will routinely patrol JFK like any other area, they just won’t get that special attention inside the ER like under the contract,” Chief Mangold said.
He explained he gave the hospital two extensions, but the contract expired in June and there was no renewal. The proposed amount for the new contract was $395,000.
In the meantime, WPTV saw security officers hired by the security company G4S at the front desk of the hospital.
Just days after the raised security concerns, one of those G4S officers was fired after he was caught sleeping on duty. He was photographed with his feet up and head back inside JFK Medical Center.
“G4S does not tolerate inattentiveness on duty. Once G4S was aware of the allegation that a security officer was asleep while on post, we immediately opened an investigation and removed the officer from duty,” the security company said. “We have since terminated the officer’s employment and have confiscated his firearm.”
JFK confirmed to staff there will still be 24/7 security inside the hospital, limited entrances and visitors will be required to stop at security to obtain a badge upon arrival.