Police Dept. updates council on officers at St. Luke’s Hospital

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, August 28, 2014

By Claire Sachse
At the Aug. 21 Columbus Town Council meeting, Chris Beddingfield, chief of police, presented a progress report to council providing details of the activities of two police officers who are assigned to the nighttime shift at St. Luke’s Hospital.
Under a contract between the police department and St. Luke’s Hospital signed in 2013, the police department provides one officer from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. to the hospital to do foot patrols, assist with involuntary commitments, investigate thefts, monitor parking lots, and other assignments.
“We’ve had a lot of people come in under a false identity and receive services and surgeries and all kinds of other stuff,” Beddingfield said to the town council. “If the police officers hadn’t been there, it wouldn’t have been detected.” Beddingfield said the officers spend lots of time in the emergency room and in the geriatric psych unit.
According to Beddingfield, the hospital approached the Columbus Police Department with the idea of replacing their security guards with an armed police presence. The two Columbus Police officers hired to work at St. Luke’s are Jerry Williams and Danny Edwards. Their salary, benefits, equipment and uniforms are paid for by the hospital.
Beddingfield reported to council that he is in the process of securing a used police car for the officers to keep on the hospital campus.
According to Beddingfield, since the contract began, the two officers have charged and arrested three individuals for identity theft and obtaining property by false pretenses, identified and sought restitution on $7,352.66 that was stolen/defrauded from St. Luke’s Hospital, identified and arrested persons responsible for two car break-ins on the campus of St. Luke’s Hospital, and identified and arrested individuals who who stole medication and supplies from the emergency room.
“This has worked out well,” said Beddingfield in an interview after the council meeting. “We’re very pleased on our side. We’re solving crime and keeping the employees, patients and users of the hospital safe.”

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