New valley-wide protocols for how police officers and hospital staff should interact were announced on Thursday.
Previously, there was no policy in place for how law enforcement should deal with hospital staff during an investigation.
That all changed after a Salt Lake City police detective named Jeff Payne was shown on body camera footage forcibly arresting Utah nurse Alex Wubbels over the summer after she refused to draw blood from an unconscious patient.
Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown says the new policy was modeled after one he forged with the University of Utah Hospital after that incident.
“This just gives us all a foundational-type policy that...spells out how we’re going to interact, and, more importantly, the courtesy of checking in, and letting people know what we’re doing and why we’re there,” he says.
Aimee McLean is president of the Utah Nurses Association. Her organization and the Valley Police Association partnered on the new document.
“I think the biggest thing it lays out is that when they come to the hospital to do something, they will announce their presence,” she says.
She says it will also mitigate potential conflicts.
“When there’s a disagreement, when the police want to do something and the nurse wants to do something different — the interaction doesn’t stop or culminate with them,” she says. “The nurse goes up her chain of command, and the police officer goes up his chain of command.”
The guidelines will be voluntary for police departments in the valley, but so far, Chief Brown says most jurisdictions have been interested in adopting them.