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Memorial Security Police Department contributes to IAHSS Chapter of Distinction award

Craig Whitfield’s office shelves are full of memories, awards and even a book he wrote. But one piece of hardware in particular has recently taken center stage.

Thanks in part to the efforts of security officers at Memorial Hospital of South Bend, the Indiana chapter of the International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety has been recognized as a Chapter of Distinction.

Whitfield, Memorial Hospital’s Chief of Police and one of only three Certified Healthcare Protection Administrators in the state, said the honor is the result of hours of work by his team and hospital police departments across Indiana.

The IAHSS Chapter of Distinction award isn’t necessarily given every year, so it is especially exciting to be honored in this way. To be considered, statewide chapters must meet certain criteria, such as hosting or sponsoring events, contributing to the healthcare security and safety profession, innovating educational programs, and other efforts.

“It was a process,” said Whitfield, who also serves as Chair-Elect of the Indiana Chapter.

Memorial officers are required to complete Basic certification through the IAHSS. The lessons include healthcare-specific security training, including medical records, securing pharmacy locations and working in pediatric and infant units. High participation in these training programs led to the Memorial department being recognized as a two-year Program of Distinction in 2019.

Though the Basic certification is part of the job description, Whitfield said many officers request to get certified through the Advanced and even the Supervisory programs.

“My officers are all on board,” he said. “I challenged them, and they have met the challenge.”

Whitfield said the chapter is also working with the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy to set annual standard training required for healthcare police officers.

In the near future, Whitfield plans to apply for the Program of Distinction again. He said he’s proud of what his team has accomplished and is always looking to move in the right direction for Memorial Hospital and for the community. He said the IAHSS honors are evidence of what he already knew about the Memorial Security Police Department.

“I think it’s a validation of the efforts of my team,” he said. “And it has empowered us to move forward and be better.”

About Benjamin Dashley