Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - The Rochester Police Department is finalizing plans to start a new security program - at St. Marys Hospital.

The department is already providing security service using overtime officers, a cost paid by the hospital.

RPD Capt. Jeff Stillwell says a proposal will be presented to the City Council next week that would authorize a formal agreement with St. Marys. It would require the city to hire three fulltime officers who would only be assigned to St. Marys.

Stillwell says the proposal calls for 12-hour service seven days a week. He says this could eventually expand to a 24/7 operation, which St. Marys has expressed strong interest in. Stillwell says the entire cost of the Hospital Resource Officer program would be paid by St. Marys.

Stillwell says the goal of the program is “to maintain a cooperative and coordinated approach to deterring and addressing criminal activity at St. Mary's Hospital with particular emphasis on the emergency department.”

Stillwell says other hospitals around the country have already adopted similar programs. He says officers are frequently called to the ER to deal with violent and disruptive patients and/or visitors and assaults on medical staff are common.

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