UPDATE: CHI Memorial switching to private security company in Ju - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: CHI Memorial switching to private security company in July

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

There will no longer be off-duty Chattanooga police officers working at CHI Memorial Hospital. 

Hospital officials told Chattanooga police on May 24, that they are going with a less expensive option.

The officers are scheduled until the end of June. On July 1, a private security company, G4S, will take over. The company is based out of London, but has an office in Chattanooga. 

Memorial is also eliminating their in-house security along with officers they hire through another private company called, Emerson Russell Security. 

Chattanooga police officers have been working extra jobs at the hospital for more than 10 years.

Director of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Tommy Wiggonton tells Channel 3 that hiring G4S is what's best for the hospital. 

"We will be able to offer more coverage than what we have right now, which we will be putting on more officers at any given time and at our peak time when we really need them." 

Wiggonton said the patients will see officers more often with a larger staff. Officer will also be unarmed, unlike CPD officers who are authorized to carry a gun while working at the hospital. 

"When a person is going to have a response they can react faster and a lot of times weapons; they're not needed. They're really not needed in an emergency department or a hospital environment."

According to records provided by the Chattanooga Police Department, there were two aggravated assaults and one rape reported on CHI Memorial's property between January 2016 and May 2017. 

But Wiggonton said new technology provided by G4S will allow officers to predict and prevent crime. CPD has similar technology, but Wiggonton said officers aren't able to access it at all times when working at the hospital. 

"A lot of that technology is very expensive and that's not something that they would issue to each officer to be a standard piece of equipment in their vehicle," said Wiggonton. "This was their second job when they're working security for us so I'm sure they could call for it during the crime but we will also have that equipment here 24 seven provided by the new company." 

Here's the full statement from CHI Memorial:

Beginning July 1, 2017, safety, security and preparedness functions now being performed by a combination of contracted and employed associates will be combined across CHI Memorial into an integrated department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

This change is being made to improve security, enhance our culture of safety and provide an excellent experience for our patients, families and associates.

CHI Memorial will partner with G4S as its single provider of uniformed guards.  G4S is a global, 100-year old company with a branches across the United States that serve a broad spectrum of industries from airports to nuclear plants, as well as a specialization in hospitals and healthcare.

All current CHI Memorial security officers’ positions will be eliminated and they will be eligible for severance according to the policy.  CHI Memorial officers are welcome to apply for positions with G4S. Uniformed guards will be hired locally and G4S will give consideration to CHI Memorial associates who apply for open positions and who meet the position qualifications and requirements.

Janelle Reilly, chief operating officer, CHI Memorial, says, “Our overarching objective is to improve, integrate and standardize safety programs and services across CHI Memorial to enhance our ability to increase protection and satisfaction of our patients, families, associates, medical staff and visitors. By combining functions now performed by 3 entities - employees and two contracted vendors - into one responsible partner, we also have the opportunity to increase preparedness to reduce risk, improve response and enhance recovery in the event of a safety or security incident. The focus is not to reduce cost, but improve our Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness program to support our core goals of Quality, Safety and Service.” 

Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates to this story.

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