University of Utah Hospitals and Salt Lake City Police Department Policies

University of Utah Hospitals and Salt Lake City Police Department Policies

Oct 11, 2017 10:18 AM

University of Utah Health has partnered with the University police and the Salt Lake City police departments to create the following policy to separate our front line nurses and caregivers from direct interaction with police officers -- allowing them to remain focused on patient care. 

UNIVERSITY OF UTAH HOSPITAL & SALT LAKE CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT PROCEDURES

  1. PURPOSE AND SCOPE

The purpose of this policy is to outline proper procedures for conducting law enforcement activity (e.g., blood draws, warrant service, evidence collection, witness/suspect interviews, etc.) at the University of Utah Hospital and Huntsman Cancer Hospital. At this time, this policy only applies when officers are conducting law enforcement activities at the University of Utah Hospital and Huntsman Cancer Hospital, hereafter referred to as “the Hospital”. This policy does not apply at the University Neuropsychiatric Institute (UNI).

The below policy and procedures will be reviewed as needed (at least annually) by the Hospital and the Police Department. Necessary changes will be made as they are identified.

I-1. DEFINITIONS

House Supervisor – The on-duty Clinical Nursing Supervisor for the Hospital. There is a House Supervisor on-duty at the Hospital 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. House Supervisors have the authority to act on behalf of Hospital administration and oversee clinical operations. House Supervisors also have appropriate training in responding to law enforcement requests regarding patients.

In-Patient – For the purpose of this policy, the term “in-patient” refers to any individual who is admitted to the Hospital for care/treatment, outside of the Emergency Department.

University Police Officer – A University of Utah police officer who works in the Emergency Department and acts as a liaison between health care providers and outside police agencies accessing patients.

 1. POLICY

In order to facilitate efficient coordination of the duties of the personnel of both the Police Department and the Hospital, it is the policy of the Salt Lake City Police Department to work under the agreed upon procedures listed below when conducting law enforcement activities at the Hospital. This policy shall in no way be construed as to restrict officers from taking life-saving actions in emergency situations.

III. IN-PATIENT PROCEDURES

III-3.1 IN-PATIENT – NOT IN CUSTODY

When an officer responds to the Hospital to conduct law enforcement activity with an in-patient who is not presently in custody, the officer shall first make contact with the Hospital’s Customer Service Office. The Hospital’s Customer Service Office can be contacted in one of two ways: 

  1. During business hours Customer Service staffs an office located in the 1st floor main lobby, adjacent to the Starbucks.
  2. There is a 24-hour Customer Service desk located next to the Emergency Department.

The Customer Service Office will page the Hospital’s House Supervisor who will respond with the University Police Officer to the officer’s location. The officer will explain their needs, present any legal process (i.e., search warrant), if applicable, and complete the Law Enforcement Not In Custody Patient Access Form. The House Supervisor will facilitate the officer’s needs, as appropriate.

If there is disagreement between the officer and the House Supervisor, both parties shall contact their respective supervisors to facilitate resolution.

This policy does not apply when the Hospital has initiated contact with law enforcement and asked them to respond to the hospital. In these instances, officers will respond to the area requesting the police response and follow standard Department protocol.

III-3.2 IN-PATIENT – IN CUSTODY

In-patients in the custody of the Salt Lake City Police Department will be guarded and handled per regular Department guard duty procedures.

If an in-patient who is not presently in custody needs to be placed in custody, officers will follow the process under the IN-PATIENT – NOT IN CUSTODY section to facilitate direction to the individual’s location and proper advisement of the House Supervisor.

IV - EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT PROCEDURES

Interactions between police personnel and Emergency Department staff are inherently different from other areas of the hospital due to the nature of law enforcement and medical services provided in the Emergency Department. As such, procedures that differ from other areas of the hospital are necessary in order to ensure the efficiency of services and the safety of all present. Listed below are specific procedures for the different circumstances that officers face when working in the Emergency Department. Law enforcement and emergency medicine are dynamic fields of work, and it is difficult to predict every possible situation that might present itself in this environment. If a situation presents itself that is not explicitly covered by these procedures, officers and Emergency Department charge nurses shall use their best judgment, and whenever practicable (i.e., a situation is not an emergency that requires immediate action), consult with the Hospital’s House Supervisor and/or the University Police Officer working in the Emergency Department before taking action. Afterwards, each entity shall complete the appropriate documentation describing the situation and circumstances so that a review may occur.

Additionally, when working in the Emergency Department officers must keep three points in mind:

  1. There is a University Police Officer on-duty in the Emergency Department 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This person serves as a coordinator between outside police agencies and the Hospital. When working in the Emergency Department, officers should always make reasonable effort to inform the University Police Officer of their presence and purpose. Furthermore, if the House Supervisor is requested, the University Police Officer may also respond. Officers of the Salt Lake City Police Department will provide adequate case information to the University Police Officer when requested so that the University Police Officer can assist in facilitating the request, as appropriate.
  2. There is a charge nurse on-duty in the Emergency Department 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is the charge nurse’s responsibility to maintain overall management of the Emergency Department. To help facilitate this function, whenever practicable, officers will notify the charge nurse of their presence and purpose in the Emergency Department (this includes Crime Lab Personnel – this notification may be made in advance by the officer already present).
  3. If there is disagreement between officers and Emergency Department personnel about the officer’s request for patient access or information, the Hospital House Supervisor will be paged and respond. Officers and Emergency Department personnel shall not argue to resolve the issue, and will wait to resolve any problems that arise with the House Supervisor. If the situation cannot be resolved between the officer and the House Supervisor, both parties shall contact their respective supervisors to facilitate resolution. The University Police Officer will advocate that all parties involved follow these procedures.  

IV-4.1 REQUESTS FOR SERVICE

When the Hospital contacts the Department requesting a police response due to a victim’s presence in the Emergency Department (e.g., sexual assault victim, domestic violence victim, assault victim, etc.), the responding officer(s) will respond to the Emergency Department to take the initial report and conduct the initial investigation per standard protocols. The responding officer(s) will explain to the personnel who grant them entrance the purpose of their presence. Normal protocol of letting Emergency Department personnel and/or the University police officer know of the officer’s presence and purpose will be followed. Notification to the House Supervisor is not necessary.

IV-4.2 ENTRY WITH SUBJECTS IN CUSTODY

When officers enter the Emergency Department with individuals who are in custody (e.g., civil commitments, arrested persons, detained suspects, etc.), the officer will stay with that individual as safety, legal, and evidentiary circumstances require until the officer’s official duties are completed. No official notification to the House Supervisor needs to be made. Officers will follow normal protocol of letting Emergency Department personnel and/or the University Police Officer know that the individual is being civilly committed or is otherwise in custody.

If the individual who is in custody needs to be moved to another area of the hospital for treatment (i.e., an Operating Room), the officer shall stay with that individual as safety, legal, and evidentiary circumstances require. In such situations, Emergency Department personnel or the University Police Officer will notify the House Supervisor of the movement. The House Supervisor may check in with the officer guarding the individual in custody.

IV-4.3 ENTRY WITH VICTIMS RECEIVING EMERGENCY TREATMENT

Often, officers respond to the Emergency Department with individuals who need emergency medical treatment due to being victims of violent crime (e.g., shootings, stabbings, etc.). The timely collection of evidence and statements in these cases is extremely important. An officer may enter the Emergency Department in these circumstances without notifying the House Supervisor. Normal protocol of letting Emergency Department personnel and/or the University Police Officer know of the officer’s presence and purpose will be followed.

If the victim needs to be moved to another area of the hospital for treatment, the officer shall stay with that individual as safety, legal, and evidentiary circumstances require. In such situations, Emergency Department personnel or the University Police Officer will notify the House Supervisor of the movement. The House Supervisor may check in with the officer who has stayed with the victim.

IV-4.4 DECEASED PERSONS

At times, officers are required to guard bodies of deceased persons for evidentiary and chain-of-custody purposes. The Hospital is aware of this obligation and will not interfere with this requirement.

Officers may enter the Emergency Department in these situations without notifying the House Supervisor. Normal protocol of letting Emergency Department personnel and/or the University police officer know of the officer’s presence and purpose will be followed. Emergency Department personnel or the University Police Officer will notify the House Supervisor if they deem it necessary.

IV-4.5 OTHER NON-CUSTODIAL INTERACTIONS

When officers find it necessary to contact an individual in the Emergency Department who is not in custody, and who does not fall into one of the above listed categories, the responding officer shall first make contact with the Emergency Department charge nurse and/or University Police Officer stationed in the Emergency Department.  The officer will explain their needs, present any legal process (i.e., search warrant), if applicable, and complete the Law Enforcement Not In Custody Patient Access Form. The Emergency Department charge nurse will facilitate the officer’s needs, as appropriate.

If there is disagreement between the officer and the Emergency Department charge nurse, both parties shall contact their respective supervisors to facilitate resolution. 

  1. VISITATION

There are no restrictions on officers visiting family, friends, acquaintances, etc. while in uniform. If questioned, an officer will explain to the Hospital personnel that they are visiting a family member, friend, etc.

 

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Media Contacts

Suzanne Winchester
Office of Public Affairs
Phone: 801-581-3102
Email: Suzanne.Winchester@hsc.utah.edu

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