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Columbus to cancel security agreement with St. Luke’s

COLUMBUS — The Town of Columbus has decided to end its security agreement with St. Luke’s Hospital.

For the past few years, the town and hospital have had an agreement where St. Luke’s pays for a Columbus police officer to be on duty at the hospital at night.

The Columbus Town Council met in February and approved leaving the agreement.

“The arrangement has been good for the town and the hospital, but it is increasingly difficult to find qualified officers to fill these positions,” said Columbus Town Manager Tim Barth.

The town must give the hospital six months notice of its intent to leave the agreement. Barth said Police Chief Chris Beddingfield is working with the hospital to help them explore other alternatives for security, and will continue to do so as long as necessary.

The council decided to send St. Luke’s a letter indicating it is the town’s intent not to continue with the agreement, beginning six months from now.

Town Councilman Robert Williamson said he would like to remind everyone that the town police department covers the hospital on call, but will now no longer have an officer stationed at the hospital overnight.