Officials: Metal detectors in hospitals would be 'insane'

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- A fatal shooting at University Hospital has a lot of people worrying about safety. Security officials say they followed protocol, and protocol won't be changing.

Johnny Melles, director of Safety and Security at University Hospital, says, "The incident was over, about as quick as it happened."

But the terrifying moments left many worrying about their safety at the hospital.

"I want to insure the staff, the patients, the citizens of this area, that they are just as safe here at this hospital as they are anywhere in the CSRA," he said.

Cpt. Scott Peebles says, "It can happen anywhere, and you just have to realize that."

He says University Hospital security handled the situation quickly and appropriately. The suspect was in custody by the time Richmond County deputies arrived.

"Security already had everything under control at the hospital," he said.

But the big question on everyone's mind now: Will safety protocols change at the hospital?

"The procedures we have in place are the appropriate procedures and that was proven yesterday," Melles said.

They say metal detectors and pat-downs aren't feasible.

"That's insane ... It would seriously disrupt the business of the hospital to even try and put something like that in place and then it wouldn't be effective anyway," Peebles said.

"I'm not going to stop a mother that's having delivery pains to see if she's got a weapon. It's not going to happen," Melles said.

Many people at the hospital didn't understand why they weren't being given any information.

"They wouldn't say what was going on, they just said it was a situation," one panicked visitor said.

The safety director says telling everyone the situation could cause chaos.

"We have codes that we use and we use those codes to keep down on panic for patients, visitors, that don't need to really know at that time what's going on," he said.

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