UT Medical Center becomes first hospital in state to add K-9 off

UT Medical Center becomes first hospital in state to add K-9 officers

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The University of Tennessee Medical Center has become the first hospital in the state to add K-9s to its security force. The University of Tennessee Medical Center has become the first hospital in the state to add K-9s to its security force.
The two dogs, Koda and Kimber, will provide an extra layer of security for the hospital as well as a little comfort to the patients. The two dogs, Koda and Kimber, will provide an extra layer of security for the hospital as well as a little comfort to the patients.
Kimber and Koda are trained narcotics dogs, but their main job will be to maintain a presence in the hospital's main lobbies and emergency room. Kimber and Koda are trained narcotics dogs, but their main job will be to maintain a presence in the hospital's main lobbies and emergency room.
By DREW GARDNER
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The University of Tennessee Medical Center has become the first hospital in the state to add K-9s to its security force.

The two dogs, Koda and Kimber, will provide an extra layer of security for the hospital as well as a little comfort to the patients.

"We started looking into the K-9 usages at hospitals," said Lt. Brandon Ingram with the UT Medical Center Security Department. "So I called hospitals out west, and I called hospitals up north, and immediately found that it's a great additional to security forces on hospital campuses."

While UT has been spared from any serious events, at Park West Medical Center on Knoxville's west side, a man with mental issues in 2010 shot and killed one woman and wounded two others before killing himself. Lt. Ingram says these dogs will hopefully be just another deterrent for these potential crimes.

Previous story: Police: Man with mental issues wounds 2, kills woman, self at Knox hospital

"If anyone has any kind of bad intentions, or people come here and think they may cause havoc, they will see these guys walking around with these 75 pound Belgian Malinois and will hopefully say you know what this is not the place to do this at," said Ingram.

Kimber and Koda are trained narcotics dogs, but their main job will be to maintain a presence in the hospital's main lobbies and emergency room.

In addition to security, they will be used to help raise the spirits of patients and their families.

"It's what we call family strengthening," said Ingram. "You have a family that's really not having a good day they're loved ones are sick and you just walk the dog by and you just say, ‘Hey, would you like to pet our dog Koda?'"

The dog's handlers say after a few instructions from them, they are happy to oblige.

"She's very friendly," said Kimber's handler, John Doogan. "She's getting used to her new surroundings, so she's always looking around and check everything out, but she is very good and very friendly."

The dogs officially went on duty Thursday morning and began patrolling the 2.2 million square foot campus. They will eventually split up between day and night shifts so that both are always covered.

The dogs and handlers were paid for through a $25,000 grant from the medical center's auxiliary. The auxiliary holds annual fundraisers throughout the year to help provide additional equipment and other needs for the hospital.

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