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Essentia's 'RoboCop' Makes Security More Efficient

Updated: 03/05/2014 1:59 PM
Created: 03/05/2014 1:16 PM WDIO.com
By: Brittany Falkers

On any given day, more than 6,000 people pass through Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth.  It's a big campus that's privately owned, but open to the public and that means a lot of calls to security. 

Essentia Security Officer Robin Archambault says the medical center keeps them busy with emergency situations. "Quick response is important.  Whether it be a medical emergency, a code blue, or a code grey where there are violent people acting out," Archambault said.  "And a lot of times we have to meet the police department or the fire department on the other side of the campus from where we are."

Essentia's Duluth campus is about 2.3 million square feet, according to media relations specialist Maureen Talarico. That means security officers have a lot of ground to cover. "Some days we put a lot of miles on because this campus is so big," Archambault said.

About two months ago the security department at Essentia bought a new security vehicle to help make getting to and from emergencies a little easier.  It's called the TRIKKE.  It's a battery powered three-wheeled scooter complete with a siren and flashing lights.  It looks like something from a futuristic crime movie, but it's much more than just an eye-catcher.  It is making the officer's job a lot more efficient.

"It just gets us to another point quicker. Which is sometimes really important in our line of work," Archambault said.  

Security officer, Daniel Walman say it's not quite RoboCop, but it's close enough. He says getting to a situation fast is important when patrolling an area that's about the size of about 50 football fields.

"If we had an emergency call, it would take three minutes to respond anywhere in that four block radius," Walman said.  "Now we've cut that time in half, if not even more."

A quick response time is critical in emergency medical or violent situations, according to Walman.  Also, running from one end of the hospital's campus to the other leaves you winded, but with the TRIKKE there fully energized and ready for any situation. Plus, Archambault says the scooter is a real head turner.

"I think it's a great tool for us to use and it's a great PR too," she said.  "When people see you they stop and talk to you and ask you about it. Pretty cool."

It's a cool tool, with all the bells and whistles, but it is also one that's making a big difference in life or death situations at Essentia Health St. Mary's.

"Emergencies can go from zero to 60 in no time at all.  So, it's very important," Walman said.

If you see an officer patrolling on the TRIKKE at Essentia, feel free to stop them to check it out but, unfortunately, Walman says they don't offer rides.

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