Local
7:45 pm
Fri June 22, 2012

Security at Hospitals to be Amped Up

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala said he's increasing security at county hospitals with psychiatric wards as a result of a March shooting at UPMC's Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC) that left two people dead and several others injured.

"Obviously when you're talking about psychiatric hospitals or facilities with a psychiatric unit you're talking about dealing with unstable people," said Zappala on Friday morning, citing concerns for the workers.

Western Psych and ten other Allegheny County hospitals with psychiatric wards will be equipped with basic safety technology such as bulletproof glass and card wipes, and more intricate computer technology, such as 360° scanning technology that would allow law enforcement to know the layout of buildings before responding to a call.

On March 8, John Shick walked into Western Psych and started shooting. He was then shot and killed by University of Pittsburgh police at the scene.

Zappala delivered a presentation to law enforcement officials and security professionals about how security will be amped up at the hospitals and the hope they can extend these security measures to schools and large companies with numerous employees such as Highmark and PNC Bank.

Zappala also reportedly said he will convene a grand jury to investigate the Western Psych shooting. Criminal charges could be assigned if it is determined that someone could have prevented Shick from opening fire.