Denver Health activates new Security Operations Center
December 07, 2022
Denver Health’s Security Operations Center in Pavilion J will become the 24/7 home for dispatchers in 2023, helping to reduce security officers’ response times to incidents on the main campus.
The SOC, pronounced “sock,” is the security team’s new communications hub, which allows dispatch to communicate with officers in the field and with local law enforcement while monitoring scenes in real time.
“The intention of the SOC is to make it a nerve center for all these resources we already have,” said Kris Sharp, interim director of safety and security at Denver Health. “It takes what was previously more of a disjointed system and brings it into one big central nervous system for our security forces and will improve our ability to respond.”
These kinds of operation centers have been shown to improve response times and the effectiveness of officers involved in incident response. The SOC opened in October, and Sharp said his department is already seeing improvements in response times.
Denver Health has more than 1,000 cameras across the main campus and will continue to add more. All the live feeds can be viewed instantly in the SOC and help security officers track missing patients, for example, or suspects of a crime.
The security team gave a recent, real-life example of when dispatch received calls about a police helicopter flying over the hospital. Two men had stolen a car and parked it in the Delaware garage and fled on foot. Officers in the SOC were in contact with law enforcement as they tracked the men on cameras to confirm that they had left the campus. Officers relayed information on their appearance and where they left the car and where they discarded or hid items, including a purse, as they fled.
Another time, the team tracked a man who was trying to open door handles in a parking garage and easily got into a vehicle – where he proceeded to take a nap. Security officers detained the man for police and notified the owner of the car, a doctor at Denver Health.
Shawna Behr, a lieutenant in the security department, said eliminating the “middleman” of off-site dispatch next year will be the most significant change to improve security, but it doesn’t stop there.
“Things are always improving and getting better,” Behr said. “We’re adding better lighting, extra cameras. Inside and outside the hospital.”
Another lieutenant, Joe Cartagena, said the SOC will be “huge” for safety because the on-site officers have thorough knowledge of the campus, its buildings, floors and unit names. If there is an active incident moving to different parts of the hospital, the on-duty sergeant in the SOC will be able to provide the most up-to-date information directly to officers on the field.
“The SOC can consistently evolve,” Sharp said. “It’s not just going to be taking this one step and then everything’s done. We’re going to keep advancing and keep bringing technology in.”
Some tips from the security team include:
- Keep your ID badge visible to clearly identify yourself and your role at Denver Health.
- Do not leave doors unlocked or unsecured, and do not allow others through secure doors.
- Program security’s 24/7 number in your cellphone, 303-436-7444, to call about situations in parking areas or while in exterior areas of our campus.