BEATRICE – Beatrice Community Hospital and the City of Beatrice are nearing an agreement that would place a police officer on duty at the hospital, on a daily basis.
"BCH approached the city. They've had security out there for years and they approached us and asked us if we would be willing to look at providing that security for them for a set number of hours a day....seven days a week. And so, we sat down and looked at it and said, certainly we would be willing to do that."
Beatrice City Administrator Tobias Tempelmeyer says under the proposal, Beatrice Police would set up what’s described as a substation at the hospital, that would be staffed by an officer eight hours per day, seven days a week.
"That individual would then be there to help the hospital staff, if they had an unruly patient or if something else would come up...they would be able to respond to it, quickly. They would still be able to respond to other calls, if needed...if we have somebody who needs to go up to detox in Lincoln, have emergency protective custodies, be able to handle some of those....so that's some of the benefit we get out of it."
The agreement will be on the Beatrice City Council’s agenda for Tuesday night, as the Fourth of July Holiday moves the usual Monday night meeting to Tuesday evening. Tempelmeyer says under the arrangement, the city would have to add two police officers to the department’s staff to cover the hospital duties.
"We might look at initially, just some part time to get us over the gap while we get someone in and off to the Academy. The benefit to us is if they work out there for eight hours, they still have four more hours on their shift, because police officers work twelve-hour shifts. If we can bring them in and help us fill some short shifts as officers rotate in and out, that would be a benefit to the city, as well."
Tempelmeyer says the agreement between the City and Beatrice Community Hospital would be very similar to the school resource officer agreements the city has with Beatrice Public Schools. Resource officers have been provided at both the high school and middle school for several years, with the city and school district sharing the costs.