ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) — Safety at health care facilities is on the forefront following the mass shooting Tuesday that claimed a life at Allina Health Clinic in Buffalo.

Rochester Police Department (RPD) spoke Thursday about a partnership it has with Mayo Clinic that promotes safety and security.

RPD Community Services Division Captain Jeff Stilwell

RPD Community Services Division Capt. Jeff Stilwell said a safe and secure place for health care professionals to work is crucial.

“What’s sorta surprising is the amount of violence and threatening behavior that happens in the health care system,” Stilwell said. “Mayo had been telling us for years, last few years for sure.” 

The Human Resource Officer program began a year ago after talks with Mayo Clinic.

Three Human Resource Officers (HRO) work at the Mayo Clinic Saint Marys Emergency Department to ensure safety for patients and staff.

“Six months ago we moved three officers into the hospital. That’s their full-time job. And we really started integrating them into the healthcare environment, particularly, in the emergency room department,” Stilwell said.

The HROs work with closely with Mayo’s security team, and in those six months they have taken care of more than 200 incidents.

“Trying to be friendly face in that environment,” Stilwell said. “Somebody that everybody knows before there’s any crisis. Somebody that people can come to if they have concerns about their safety or safety outside of the hospital.”

Most recently the HROs joined Mayo in conducting threat assessments to continue to make Mayo and welcoming environment.

“Bringing their sorta of medical and mental health knowledge to the table with our security and law enforcement knowledge to try to be determined,” Stilwell said. “What’s the probability of some these people that make threats?”

A Mayo Clinic spokesperson said in a statement all staff go through training…such as active shooter training and that improving hospital security has always been an ongoing effort.

The HRO program that has gone so well it will be expanding with two more officers.

“Hope to expand both the hours of coverage at the hospital and sorta the scope of what their duties are,” Stilwell said.