Parkview Hospital swears in officers for new police department

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Parkview Hospital, Indiana state leaders and law enforcement personnel were at a swearing-in ceremony for 19 Parkview Health Police Department officers. This first class of officers will be members of the newly formed Parkview Health Police Department, the first of its kind in Indiana.

“More than two years of thoughtful discussion, work and consideration went into the formation of the Parkview Health Police Department,” said Mike Packnett, CEO and president, Parkview Health. “Safety on our campuses has been and will always be a priority. We want to thank Tom Rhoades and Senator Dennis Kruse for their leadership and vision in helping to make this day a reality.”

A recent bill passed and signed into law by Governor Mike Pence made it possible for the department to be formed. Tom Rhoades, Parkview Health’s chief of police, teamed up with state senator Dennis Kruse to form a bill to allow hospitals to create its own police departments. Hospital officers are armed and would have their own jurisdiction to arrest on property. When Parkview only had security, officers didn’t have these powers.

Rhoades said these officers went through eight weeks of training with the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, but they had to possess other skills for this position.

“The main focus was finding those folks with the characteristics that can’t be taught and those are compassion and empathy toward others,” he said. “Because it’s different from policing on the streets.”

The Parkview Health Police Department will eventually be made up of nearly two dozen officers, who will cover the entire health system.

Lutheran Health Network tells NewsChannel 15 it will not form its own police department because it spent $14 million in taxes to Allen County in 2013. Geoff Thomas, Lutheran spokesperson, said they will continue their partnership with city and county police.

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