Most bullet proof security is designed to prevent economically motivated crime. Few bandits feel a deep-seated need to rob a specific liquor store. They just want quick money; install a transaction window in your convenience store, and that bandit will walk on by and choose an easier target.

But things are different when you’re dealing with crimes motivated by high-emotion: revenge, domestic disputes, gang violence, or the violent outbursts of the mentally deranged. In today’s world, hospitals have to be prepared for both kinds of threats.


To some very brazen (or desperate) criminals, a hospital pharmacy is an excellent target: these dispensaries tend to be tucked into an out-of-the-way corner that’s close to an exit and far from security. They handle lots of cash and are fully stocked with pharmaceuticals that fetch high prices on the street. Additionally, because they often handle delivery challenges unique to hospitals, it can be hard to properly secure a hospital pharmacy.

Over the years, small pharmacies have increasingly embraced ballistic transaction windows. Hospitals have likewise been quietly installing such ballistic security as they renovate their facilities.


More recently, it’s the emergency room that’s been the focus of hospital security renovations. Jim Richards, vice president of Total Security Solutions, is surprised it’s taken as long as it has. “I don’t know why all E.R.s don’t have access control, at least in the reception area. There’s a lot going on in the emergency room and check-in area.”

Gang disputes, drug use and abuse, scuffles during an arrest, and domestic violence regularly send people to the emergency room. When you have a violent altercation, odds are that people involved on both sides of that argument are going to end up at the same hospital. “What you forget is that it’s rare for an injured person to come in alone. They’re accompanied by family, or associates who themselves may be disturbed or violent, maybe even the person that caused the injury to begin with.”

For the safety of patients and staff, Jim strongly advises hospitals install transaction windows in the emergency room reception area. Horizontal sliders–which can be left open to speed patient processing during low-risk periods–can quickly be locked down, providing bullet proof security during any violent incident. Jim also favors hospital policies that facilitate a close relationship between hospital administration and law enforcement, and building layouts that integrate a police “command room” into the ER center. A visible law-enforcement presence has a major impact on facility security. The last thing anyone wants is for the E.R. to become the site of its own emergency.


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