• K-9 Joins Bassett Security Team

    Bassett Healthcare Network

    July 15, 2019

    Bassett Medical Center introduced its first K-9 security team to the public today. Hudson, a three-and-a-half year old Belgian Malinois, and the dog’s handler, security officer Robert Meiser, began making rounds at the hospital in June. Bassett joins a growing number of hospitals around the country that have a K-9 security program in place.

    Bassett Medical Center President William LeCates, MD, notes, “The development of a K-9 program was a complicated undertaking, and I am greatly appreciative of Mr. Meiser and the Bassett security team who worked to make this program a reality for Bassett. The presence of a K-9 team adds an important new dimension to our security program and represents our ongoing commitment to the safety of our patients, visitors and caregivers.”

    Harold Southworth, director of Public Safety and Transportation, says Meiser and Hudson have been on the road throughout the eight-county region served by Bassett to introduce the K-9 team and its role at each of the five hospitals in the Bassett Healthcare Network as well as the dozens of health centers throughout the eight-county region Bassett serves.

    “The presence of a K-9 team is shown to be extremely effective in promoting safety,” explains Southworth, who along with Andrew Zuk, manager of Security Operations, led the development of the K-9 program. “Hudson is extremely intelligent and adaptable to the moment. His presence can immediately calm a highly charged situation, and he is an approachable, comforting distraction when called upon, such as for children in the emergency department.”

    Meiser, who has 4 years of experience in hospital security, trained with Hudson for several weeks before officially beginning their work as the K-9 team at Bassett. “The training was extensive and a really good experience; we bonded immediately,” says Meiser who, in his role as the K-9 security officer, has taken on the responsibility of caring for his canine partner as well as the ongoing training of Hudson.

    While Hudson’s main job is to provide an added layer of security and safety at the hospital, he will also regularly interact with patients, visitors and staff. He wears a working K-9 vest so it is clear he is “on the job,” but Hudson is approachable by simply asking his handler if it is okay to approach and waiting for an affirmative response.

    In addition to the K-9 team, Bassett’s security department consists of 61 security officers who staff five hospitals, various regional health centers and act as a reassuring presence and resource for staff, patients and visitors. They respond to emergencies and are the network’s liaison with area law enforcement.