CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Health System held a commissioning ceremony Jan. 16 honoring the promotion of its security force to State Certified Level III Commissioned Security Officers, which allows them to carry firearms in the course of their duties.
CHRISTUS leadership determined that commissioning the officers would enhance the safety of patients and staff at the Beaumont hospital and beyond as it works to make similar changes at other hospitals in the network.
“In a Catholic health care setting, the commissioning of the security officers is a crucial part of ensuring the faith-based principles of care and compassion are the foundation of the security team’s path and direction moving forward,” a statement from CHRISTUS described.
During months of training, CHRISTUS security officers used virtual reality technology to simulate emergency situations inside of models of CHRISTUS Southeast Texas facilities and participated in live-action scenarios to prepare for their promotions to armed officers. They received 45 hours of training, which at times exceeded the level of training required by other local entities, CHRISTUS reported. In addition to their new firearms, security officers with the CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Health System will be equipped with new uniforms, marked security vehicles and new body armor vests previously only available to law enforcement officers.
“Each day we see sobering reminders that our world can be volatile at times,” CHRISTUS Southeast Texas President and CEO Paul Trevino explained prior to the ceremony. “So, we felt it was important to be proactive and to be prepared in case of emergency. When our patients visit our facilities, we want them to focus on getting well, and when our associates come to work, we want them to focus on providing excellent care in a safe environment. We are confident that the training our dedicated security officers have received will ensure that those goals are met.”
Trevino said that, with incidents of mass violence increasing across the nation and needlessly putting innocent people in peril, CHRISTUS Health Vice President of Security Roy Alston suggested arming officers throughout the health care system as a preventive measure. CHRISTUS leadership jumped at the opportunity and are ahead of the curve in heightening security compared to other health care facilities, Trevino explained.
“Obviously, the world is changing, and we need to make sure we’re changing with it,” Trevino shared. “We’re the first. Mr. Alston, who is our VP of Security, really came in and saw this opportunity, not only for us in SETX, but across the entire company. Fortunately, SETX collaborated to be the first out of the block. This is part of our ongoing commitment to make sure we create a healing environment for our patients and our associates.
“Hospitals are faced with challenges, like psychiatric changes in the community, certainly trauma and issues that come with that and, most recently, the sex trafficking challenges that our country has… The more people we see, the more challenges we may face. We want to make sure that we have the appropriate assets and resources. We’ll continue to work closely with the Beaumont Police Department, and all the law enforcement agencies in Southeast Texas, but it’s going to take all of us to make sure that we create as safe an environment as possible.”
Alston echoed Trevino’s concerns about the changing landscape of communities across the nation, and affirmed that the changes at CHRISTUS would improve safety throughout its health care system and provide an example for others considering comparable measures.
“We recognize that there are challenges to our facilities all across the system, and we want to be ready for those challenges, so we want officers that are capable of addressing a wide range of things – whether it’s greeting a child who comes into one our facilities, or helping somebody out of their car, or addressing any type of threat that might happen inside of our facilities. We wanted to make sure our officers had the tools, had the training, the equipment to be able to do that. We really want to create a safe environment for our unique population – our patients and our associates,” said Alston.
“At CHRISTUS Health, we are not waiting for everybody else,” he continued. “We did our analysis, we did our assessment, and we said, ‘The time is now.’ We need to do the right thing, make the right investment, develop the team to do what we need them to do and start moving in that direction.”
The team Alston and crew have developed is top-notch, he described. They have been through physical and psychological testing, as well as the intensive training required.
“They are highly trained, state-qualified, well-equipped individuals who are capable of delivering on our mission and delivering on the promise of CHRISTUS Health, which is extending the healing ministry of Jesus Christ,” Alston said.
Over time, security officers throughout the CHRISTUS network will go through training and commissioning, which will allow them to serve all facilities within the system interchangeably.
About CHRISTUS Southeast Texas
Setting the standard for progressive health care in Southeast Texas, CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Health System, is a Catholic, not-for-profit health care system and has been serving the needs of its communities for more than 117 years. The fully integrated health care delivery system including two inpatient hospitals and 27 additional points of access ranging from outpatient care to long-term facilities, are recognized as the regional leader in outpatient services, cardiology, oncology, neurology, orthopedics, sports medicine, pediatrics, general surgery, birthing, neonatal care, cardiac rehabilitation, imaging and emergency services, while CHRISTUS Southeast Texas – St. Elizabeth is designated as the area’s only Level III Trauma Center. The system continues to adapt and change to meet the needs of the community, following the values and mission of the founding Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word of Houston and San Antonio – to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ. Visit the website at www.christussetx.org.