Manitoba government announces safety officers to patrol various institutions

More staff will soon be frequenting Health Sciences Centre (HSC) Winnipeg in the coming week, but they won’t be treating patients.

On Wednesday, the Manitoba government announced institutional safety officers (ISOs) will be patrolling the hospital starting April 15.

In total, 105 ISO positions will be filled, the province said. They will be responsible for maintaining safety of several facilities across the province, including post-secondary institutions and hospitals.

It said the security personnel are “trained in public safety and crime prevention, various de-escalation techniques, enforcement of provincial laws, arrests, searches and seizures, use of force and officer safety, note-taking, interview basics, court preparation and mental health awareness.”

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The officers will also be licensed as security guards, Manitoba said.

Those placed in health-care spaces will have additional training allowing them to accept a mental health patient from police, it added, and will stay with them until a health-care worker arrives.

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Shared Health and other organizations are considering what kind of equipment will be suitable for the staff, the province said. In the meantime, it said they’ll have pepper gel on hand.

“Additional training classes for ISOs are ongoing, with classes planned for over the next three months,” the provincial government said.

It noted successful candidates will be posted at St. Boniface Hospital, Victoria General Hospital, Brandon Regional Health Centre and Selkirk Mental Health Centre, in addition to HSC.

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