They are a steady, calming presence in Saskatoon Health Region facilities.

Uniformed Saskatoon Health Region security officers can be found in all three hospitals in Saskatoon and at Parkridge Centre. It’s their job to keep those buildings safe, but they do so much more. They help lost children find their parents. They assist healthcare workers with patients who are difficult or dangerous. They run the Safe Walk program, ensuring patients, families and staff get to their vehicles safely.

A security officer monitors security cameras at St. Paul's Hospital.

A security officer monitors security cameras at St. Paul’s Hospital.

“They are aware of everything that’s going on inside the building and on the grounds of our facilities,” said Ron Balezantis, Interim Director of Support Services for Saskatoon Health Region. “And they are able to assess every situation and make sure it’s safe and right for everyone.”

Though not everyone has cause to call on security for help, everybody who enters a hospital in Saskatoon knows they are there. They are the reassuring presence that people know they can count on to help, should they need it.

October 11 to 17 was 2015 Healthcare Security and Safety Week, as declared by the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety (IHASS). This week celebrates the role of healthcare security and safety professionals in serving healthcare facilities, personnel, patients and visitors. Saskatoon Health Region Security has been involved with IAHSS since 1989. The IAHSS officer training program is a requirement of every new SHR Security Officer candidate prior to employment.

A security officers enforces parking at St. Paul's Hospital

Parking enforcement on Saskatoon Health Region property is one of the duties of security officers.

The theme of this year’s week was “Secure environment – Safe Care,” which recognizes the importance of security and safety in healthcare, and acknowledges the strong commitment, diligence and care officers display in their practice and profession.

The origins of the Region’s security force can be traced back to the 1970s. While various contract security firms were employed at all three acute care facilities in Saskatoon, the first step towards a proprietary security team was taken in 1978 at Royal University Hospital with a small contingent of six Engineering and Maintenance workers performing night watch duties, working alone.

Currently, security supports the three hospitals and Parkridge Center. Officers routinely provide safe-walks and safe-drives, traffic and pedestrian control during service interruptions, heliport ground support for STARS, violence/suicide prevention and intervention, cash escorts to pickup locations or banks, and many other responsibilities.

A security officers mans the emergency desk at Royal University Hospital.

A security officers mans the emergency desk at Royal University Hospital.

These services are provided by approximately 100 uniformed officers, 10 supervisors and two managers and a security infrastructure (cameras, alarms, access control) coordinator. Additionally, temporary support for occasional rural needs and local affiliates is expanding the demands of security operations.

“We believe two of the greatest strengths of our services are our 24/7 mobile presence and response, and our consistent and reliable documentation of everything we encounter or assist with,” said Balezantis. “Our most valuable asset is our people, the men and women who make all this happen.”

What these officers do is appreciated, Balezantis added. “We get emails all the time from people who appreciate the help our security officers have given them.”