Vidant Medical Center plans to cut the number of sworn police officers at the Greenville hospital by more than half, according to figures provided by the hospital and state officials.
The hospital says it is switching to more public safety officers, also known as security guards, who are unarmed and cannot make arrests. Vidant says the total number of positions will remain at 48.
Vidant says after the July 1st change, the Greenville hospital will have 17 sworn officers. While the hospital would not disclose how many sworn officers it currently has, the Attorney General's Office says that number is 37.
The hospital says most of the time, their officers are responding to public safety calls for vehicle lock-outs, escorts, tire changing assistance, and the like.
The hospital says it created one Vidant Health Company Police Department and adjusted the number of public safety officers. That will also clear up jurisdictional issues at their regional hospitals, according to a spokeswoman.
Public safety officers do not need state certification, but the hospital says their officers do receive special training to ensure competency.
The hospital says the change is being done to better utilize their resources, and not a way to save money.