Providence welcomes new K9, handler to security team

SPOKANE, Wash. — Providence Health Care is welcoming a new K9 and handler to its security team.

Officer Trevor Miller and K9 Rocco will help deter and prevent incidents of violence at Providence’s health care facilities across Spokane.

Providence has two other K9 teams, including K9 Supervisor Pat McKenna and Sarge, and Officer Corey Anderson and Dex. McKenna and Sarge were the first K9 team at a hospital in Washington.

According to national statistics, health care workers are exposed to violence more than any profession outside of law enforcement.

“The safety of our patients, visitors and caregivers is paramount,” said Health Care Chief Operating Officer Peg Currie. “The Providence K9 teams have brought a new energy to our security program. They provide an additional layer to our mission-driven team who are committed to providing a safe environment on our campuses.”

The K9s are used to help de-escalate situations that may arise. Since the K9 security program began in 2019, Providence says its seen a decrease in workplace violence.

The hospital says across its locations in Spokane, it’s seen a reduction of more than 30 percent.

There have been several times when patients would get aggressive with nurses, and when a K9 would be brought in, the patients would calm down.

“When you see stories like that, and you see how things can be de-escalated without any physical hands on, its really beautiful for anybody involved,” Currie said.

Not only that, the dogs have also helped staff whenever they’re in need.

“They found they could reach out, we’ll bring the dog up to their location and they spend five minutes with these dogs and it’s incredible how much it helps,” McKenna said.

Since the program started, K9s have been deployed more than 400 times. Not once has a dog been required to bite an assailant or physically engage them.

The K9s are also trained for other purposes, such as sniffing out odors, explosives or narcotics.