For 2023, Bassett Healthcare Network announced the expansion of their K-9 security team. The network added a K-9 unit this past fall with plans to add an additional K-9 unit to the health system by spring 2023. 

“Over the past few years, Bassett’s K-9 unit has been very successful. We are so proud of the important work our K-9 unit and Security personnel do every day to keep our patients, visitors and staff members safe.” says Dr. Tommy Ibrahim, President & CEO of Bassett Healthcare Network. 

Officer Ryan Salisbury and Coal, a bicolor German Sheperd, rotate across Bassett’s hospital and clinic campuses along with Bassett’s other security K-9, Hudson, to help meet the increased security needs health care workers face today. Bassett Healthcare Network, like hundreds of other health systems and hospitals across the country, has seen a significant uptick in instances of physical and verbal assault towards health care workers in recent years. K-9 units are often able to quickly defuse tense situations before they escalate. 

Salisbury sees Coal’s positive effect on difficult situations every day. “If people are getting agitated and they see a dog coming, it settles them quickly,” he says. “Meanwhile, it gives others in the room a sense of safety.”

In addition to its K-9 unit, Bassett’s Security Department consists of more than 60 security officers who staff five hospitals and over two dozen regional health centers, acting as a safety resource for staff, patients and visitors. They respond to emergencies and are the organization’s liaison with area law enforcement.