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New Policies Outlined For Valley Police, Hospital Staff Interactions

Erik Neumann
Sandy Police Chief Kevin Thacker discusses new protocols for officer and hospital staff interactions on Oct. 12.

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.  

New Protocol For Hospital Staff/Police Interactions by KUER News

Julia joined KUER in 2016 after a year reporting at the NPR member station in Reno, Nev. During her stint, she covered battleground politics, school overcrowding, and any story that would take her to the crystal blue shores of Lake Tahoe. Her work earned her two regional Edward R. Murrow awards. Originally from the mountains of Western North Carolina, Julia graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2008 with a degree in journalism. She’s worked as both a print and radio reporter in several states and several countries — from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to Dakar, Senegal. Her curiosity about the American West led her to take a spontaneous, one-way road trip to the Great Basin, where she intends to continue preaching the gospel of community journalism, public radio and podcasting. In her spare time, you’ll find her hanging with her beagle Bodhi, taking pictures of her food and watching Patrick Swayze movies.
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