Chicago Hospitals Review Security After Nov. Shooting

A new law that will go into effect next year that requires violence-prevention training and other security measures

Chicago-area hospitals are reviewing safety precautions and lawmakers are looking at measures to increase security after last month's shooting that left four people dead, including the shooter.

Amita Health's 19 hospitals and Advocate Aurora Health are among the organizations planning to provide more in-person safety training and refreshers on policy, The Chicago Tribune reported .

On Nov. 19, Juan Lopez, fatally shot his ex-fiancee , Dr. Tamara O'Neal, in the parking lot of Mercy Hospital & Medical Center on Nov. 19, police said. Lopez then fatally shot Chicago police Officer Samuel Jimenez and a first-year resident Dayna Less before he killed himself.

"Unfortunately, there's no one solution that's going to prevent these types of incidents, which is why we find it's so important to routinely assess all of our locations and train all of our associates," said Melissa Granato, Amita's associate vice president of security.

Hospitals are also preparing to meet the requirements of a new law that goes into effect next year that requires violence-prevention training and other security measures.

Democratic Rep. La Shawn K. Ford of Chicago and Democratic Sen. Laura Murphy of Des Plaines are also reviving a push for a law that would require hospitals have metal detectors.

"When you go to the airport, you automatically know you better not bring a gun," Ford said. "We just have to know what type of society we're living in right now. No one likes going through metal detectors but it is something that's probably going to become the norm for public spaces. We should be on the forefront of this."

But some hospital officials believe metal detectors aren't a good fit for their facilities. Danny Chun, spokesman for the Illinois Health and Hospital Association, said the organization opposes the bills because a blanket requirement isn't the best approach to security.

"There are multiple approaches hospitals take," he said. Security "is a priority. They prepare for it, they drill on it. They have procedures and protocols in place."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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