Bassett Healthcare welcomes new security dog

May 2—Bassett Healthcare Network has welcomed a new Ok-9 unit to its security crew.

According to a Bassett information launch, Dank, a 17-month-old German shepherd and Belgian malinois combine, started his duties as the latest member of Bassett’s security power on April 1. Dank’s associate is Officer Lynda May, who beforehand labored with now-retired Ok-9 Remi. Dank and May will journey round Bassett Healthcare Network’s hospitals and clinics every week.

“We are so proud of this amazing program and are truly grateful to the generous community members who make it possible,” stated Staci Thompson, president and CEO of Bassett Healthcare Network. “Bassett’s K-9 program adds a dynamic layer to our safety and security efforts across campuses.”

May and Dank have been coaching collectively since February, the discharge stated. Dank, together with Bassett’s different security canine, Hudson, Coal, and Hutch, work at Bassett’s hospital and clinic campuses.

“Bassett Healthcare Network, like hundreds of other health systems and hospitals across the country, has seen an increase in violence against healthcare workers in recent years,” the discharge stated. “K-9 units can quickly defuse tense situations before they escalate simply by entering a room. They are also trained in tracking and other important protection techniques.”

“Healthcare workers are five times more likely to be victims of workplace violence than employees in any other industry,” stated A.J. Zuk, director of security and transportation at Bassett. “All four of Bassett’s K-9 dogs — Hudson, Coal, Hutch, and Dank — are intelligent, alert to everything going on around them, and are trained to provide support in a variety of situations. They offer security and comfort to our employees every day.”

May stated Dank has completed coaching and is doing properly on the job. “Dank is very comfortable in a hospital environment,” she stated. “He is extremely smart and learns more quickly than many dogs I have worked with. Dank is already becoming a resourceful and dependable member of our security team.”

May arrived at Bassett in 2023 after working on the Otsego County Sheriff’s Office.

“Dank’s name has a special meaning,” she stated. “K-9 dogs are often named after officers who have fallen or officers we wish to honor. My maiden name is Dankievitch. My father, Robert J. Dankievitch, retired as a commander in the U.S. Navy and served as a police officer in Suffolk County on Long Island for 24 years. He was called ‘Dank’ by his peers in both professions. In this case, I could not think of a better way to honor my father who passed in 2015.”

In addition to its Ok-9 crew, Bassett’s Security Department consists of greater than 60 security officers who employees 5 hospitals and greater than two dozen regional well being facilities. They reply to emergencies and are the group’s liaison with space regulation enforcement, in line with the discharge.

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