Anchorage officials are investigating why security guards last week pushed an elderly man who appeared to be drunk in a wheelchair and left him outside in the snow.
In a video shot on Wednesday, Dec. 28, and posted shortly after on neighborhood social media platform Nextdoor, an elderly man lies in the snow not far from the Anchorage Correctional Facility near downtown. Ray McWane, who recorded the video, said he saw Anchorage Safety Patrol members in neon vests pushing wheelchairs out of the Anchorage Safety Center.
“He kind of got him out of the wheelchair and then back in his van,” McWane said. “And then (he) walked away.”
A curious McWain approached and found an elderly man lying in the snow, he said. In a now-deleted video by Nextdoor, McWane asked the man what happened and asked for his name, but the response is difficult to parse.
“He was still drunk. Drunk,” McWane said.
He told the man he would come back with a blanket.It was in the 20s in Anchorage that day.
McWane said he called 311, the city’s non-emergency helpline, at 7:15 p.m. that day, according to his phone records. But when he returned, the man was gone.McWane I didn’t know his name or what happened to him.
Shortly after McWain posted a short video on Nextdoor, it caught the attention of city officials, including the Anchorage Department of Health, which oversees contracts for the Anchorage Safety Center.
“The health department has confirmed that the contractor is taking corrective action,” said health department spokesman Tyler Saktlieben. Wednesday.
The Anchorage Safety Center is staffed by private security firm Securitas. The company operates the Anchorage Safety Patrol Van until intoxicated and intoxicated individuals can be picked up from around town and moved to a monitored facility.
After watching the video, Anchorage Health Department managers instructed Securitas to launch a personnel review, according to Sachtleben.
“Following the results of the contractor’s investigation … unfortunately we have been able to confirm that the social media posts were largely accurate. We are actively investigating the decisions that led to the incident,” Zachtleben said, adding that the health department’s own investigation was ongoing.
As of Thursday afternoon, Securitas has not responded to specific questions about the incident.
“Securitas takes its role in public service seriously and makes safety a top priority in providing security services. We are aware of the incidents mentioned and the matter is currently under investigation.” communications manager Alecia Stone wrote in an email Thursday afternoon.
Citing state and local regulations protecting medical privacy and personnel matters, Sachtleben said the Anchorage Department of Health also released the names of Securitas staff members involved and information about a man left outside in the snow. He said he could not provide either.
“Securitas does not track the client after release. We have made several attempts to contact the person by phone and by documented residence, but at this time the gentleman’s whereabouts are unknown. is not a client within the municipal shelter system,” Sachtleben said.
Anchorage’s safety patrol system is designed to transport severely intoxicated individuals off the road to a sleep-off center, where they are sufficiently alert to pose no threat to themselves or others. You will be monitored until you calm down. The transport vans and facilities were intended as a way to more effectively meet the needs of the community without tying up the police and paramedics who would take people to prisons and hospitals for excessive drinking.
“No one should be treated like that. We thank the concerned citizens for letting us know about this incident,” Zachtleben said.
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