UPMC Bedford police

Pictured is a UPMC Altoona police vehicle in front of the Bedford County Courthouse on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, a UPMC Bedford petition to create a police department for the hospital was approved in Bedford County court, Greg Servello, chief of police for UPMC Altoona and UPMC Bedford said.

Servello said hospitals oftentimes utilize officers from local municipalities, but there are advantages to having a police department specific to the hospital.

“It’s more proactive,” he said. “We want to be sure patients and staff are all safe.”

“It’s common for hospitals to have a police presence,” he said.

There have been no major issues at the hospital thus far. Servello said it is a “proactive choice by UPMC to ensure safety.”

The cost for the new addition is “not that much” as the department will consist of one officer. Servello was unsure of any future expansions, but he said UPMC might eventually add a second officer to make it a 24-hour operation.

UPMC officers receive the same training as state police and are armed, Servello said.

Contact Christopher Detwiler at cdetwiler@bedfordgazette.com, 623-1151, ext. 105.

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