By Amy Morrow
Eyewitness News Anchor/Reporter

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- The Board of Trustees for Erlanger Medical Center voted, Thursday, to out source the hospital's security force.

It's a move Erlanger's security officers have been fighting.

"Hearing no questions...call for questions... then all in favor? I... All opposed... So it's passed," says Board Chairman Dr. Dan Quarles.

With that, Walden Security takes over the task of providing security for Erlanger Medical Center.

Hospital officials say the move isn't about saving money, it's about offering patients and their families the best security.

"Walden can provide armed, unarmed and off duty security offices where Erlanger was experiencing challenges with securing future commissioned officers," says Charlesetta Woodard-Thompson, Chief Operation Officer for Erlanger.

The move isn't welcomed by many of Erlanger's security officers. They've spent hours picketing outside the hospital trying to call attention to the plan earlier in the month.

Hospital officials say their officers who've provided dedicated service will have the opportunity to apply for jobs with Walden.

"Our intent is to provide a secure environment for whoever passes through Erlanger's doors," says Woodard-Thompson.

The transition begins now but Walden will take over May 1st.

They will provide the 5 year contract for just over 2 million dollars a year. The contract will cost Erlanger just over 700,000 dollars more than they were spending in five year period to operate their own security division.