Providence Health Care Expands K9 Security Program

March 23, 2021 Providence News Team

Spokane, Wash. – Providence Health Care is expanding its K9 security program with an additional handler and dog to help deter and prevent incidents of violence at its Spokane area health care facilities.

Data shows this flagship program has contributed to a reduction in workplace violence by more than 30 percent at Providence campuses in Spokane since last year. In situations with escalating tension, all the K9s provide another level of authority and protection. 

Officer Trevor Miller and K9 Rocco join Providence’s two other K9 teams. K9 Supervisor Pat McKenna and Sarge were the first K9 team in a hospital in Washington. The second K9 team, Officer Corey Anderson and Dex joined the program in 2019.

Officer Miller and Rocco have been training at Sacred Heart Medical Center since October of 2020.

According to national statistics, health care workers are exposed to violence more than any profession outside of law enforcement. Providence Health Care Chief Operating Officer Peg Currie is thankful that this program continues to make Providence facilities safer for patients and caregivers. 

“The safety of our patients, visitors and caregivers is paramount,” Currie said. “The Providence K9 teams have brought a new energy to our security program. They provide an additional layer to our Mission-driven team who are committed to providing a safe environment on our campuses.”

This program began in 2019 as the first K9 program at a hospital in Washington State. Since then, the K9s have been deployed more than 400 times. Not once was the dog required to bite an assailant or physically engage them. In all those cases, the dog’s presence helped de-escalate the situation.

Together, these K9 teams represent a flagship Providence program that showcases some of the best K9 security practices in the industry. McKenna has helped establish multiple hospital K9 programs at other Providence hospitals, including in Walla Walla and Richland. He also provides training for area law enforcement K9 units. McKenna has achieved the highest global standard for K9 training through the German Theory of Police Dog Training, known as a Judgeship.  

When the K9s are on patrol on the Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center campus, they should be considered “on duty.” Visitors may ask to pet the dogs, and need prior permission from their handlers to do so.

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