At Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, patient and staff safety is always a top priority. In fact, it’s part of the hospital’s 2018 Strategic Goals. The Police, Security, Safety and Parking Department has officers on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week, performing proactive patrols, conducting investigations and responding to medical emergencies. Several officers even hold Special Sate Police Officer (SSPO) status which affords them the power of arrest on campus. Recently, with sponsorship from Director of Police, Security, Safety and Parking Terrance Lassiter, Security Officer Paul Venuto was sworn in as one of BWFH’s SSPOs.
To become an SSPO a candidate must have taken the International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety Basic and Advanced training and have at least an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice. They can then attend the reserve police academy. There they must complete a six-month program with classes three nights a week and all day Saturday. Course work includes classes in criminal law, constitutional law, motor vehicle law, domestic violence, first responder training and defensive tactics, as well as topics like dealing with the elderly and people with special needs and field sobriety.
Venuto, who came to BWFH one year ago, holds an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice from Quincy College. He has served as a police officer in the Braintree Police Department and was an armed security officer for Allied Barton in Boca Raton, Florida. “For me it was simple to become an SSPO,” he says. “I’ve already been through the academy, so it made a lot of sense.”
Here at BWFH, Venuto is committed to protecting patients and visitors, but he feels even more strongly about protecting the staff. “Being an SSPO gives me an added level of authority should I need to intervene in a situation,” he says. “It gives me the right to arrest and charge a perpetrator with a crime should I have to.”
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