About weapons screening
The safety and security of our community members are a priority at VCU Health. Everyone entering into VCU Health System hospitals and clinics, as well as facilities connected to hospitals and clinics, must pass through a weapons detection screening station. This security measure is non-invasive, fast moving and similar to what people experience when attending events at entertainment venues and other public facilities.
Weapons screening is scheduled to begin November 1 at McGlothlin Medical Education Center (MMEC), Sanger Hall and West Hospital. These locations were selected because they are physically connected to the medical center.
For more information about weapons screening at VCU Health System, visit: vcuhealth.org/patients-and-visitors/weapons-detection-screening.
For more information about weapons screening at VCU Health Sciences facilities (MMEC, Sanger Hall and West Hospital) see the FAQ below.
Frequently asked questions
The VCU Health System is implementing new violence prevention and safety initiatives that include weapons screening at VCU Medical Center as well as university facilities that connect to the medical center – McGlothlin Medical Education Center (MMEC), Sanger Hall and West Hospital. Weapons detection screening was also implemented at VCU Health Tappahannock Hospital and VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital.
- For the medical center, weapons screening began on Monday, August 28.
- For MMEC, Sanger Hall, and West Hospital, weapons screening begins Wednesday, November 1.
- MMEC locations are as follows:
- Main entrance (12th Street)
- Sanger Hall locations are as follows:
- Main entrance (Marshall Street), bus stop entrance (11th Street), and courtyard entrance (Patterson Garden)
- West Hospital locations are as follows:
- Main entrance (corner of 12th and Broad Streets)
The safety and security of our providers, team members, faculty, staff, students and patients is our top priority. Health systems across the country have seen a rise in violence in their environments, including at VCU Health. We will evaluate the use of weapons screening over the course of the year.
Anyone who wishes to enter the buildings must be screened.
At this time weapon screening is being implemented in buildings that are connected to VCU Medical Center (MMEC, Sanger Hall, and West Hospital).
VCU Health will implement OPENGATE weapons detectors, which are designed to be quick, cost-efficient, portable, and, above all, effective. VCU Health will cover the cost of installation at VCU Medical Center as well as MMEC, Sanger Hall, and West Hospital.
Yes, the units are safe. OPENGATE is the equipment manufacturer. The electromagnetic field emitted is less than a hairdryer.
RMC Security will staff the screening stations. VCU Police will be called if needed.
How It Works
Any item that could potentially be used as a weapon. Items deemed a safety or security risk may include but are not limited to the following: Firearms, razors, knives, tasers, metal knuckles or any other device or substances that may be used to threaten, menace or injure. Pepper spray continues to be permitted on campus, except in the emergency department.
Illegal substances will be seized.
There may be a very brief wait upon arrival, though the technology being implemented was chosen because of its capacity to deal with high volumes and minimize bottlenecks and wait times. In addition, equipment was allocated based on traffic volume at each location.
- If there are no prohibited items (or the screening device does not detect possible prohibited items) in your belongings, you will be able to pass through the screening station with your bag/purse/backpack/briefcase still on your person and continue on.
- If an alert is triggered at the initial pass-through, you will be asked to remove any bags/purses/backpacks/briefcases to allow the security officer at the station to conduct a manual wanding search, and then you will be asked to pass through the screening station again.
No, individuals will be able to initially pass through the screening station WITH their belongings on their person. Bags/belongings won’t have to be removed unless the screening device alerts that something was sensed.
- Items that WILL need to be removed and passed to the security officer are as follows: laptops, tablets, iPads, metal drink containers, eyeglass cases, and umbrellas.
- Items that will NOT need to be removed are as follows: cell phones, keys, change, wallets, etc.
No, individuals will not be asked to remove any clothing – manual wands will help to facilitate targeted scanning when/if needed. You may talk with the security officer to help pinpoint where sensors might be picking something up.
Weapons and illegal substances that are relinquished to Security staff will not be returned.
Alternative screening methods will be available at all times. The OPENGATE screening devices meet U.S. and international standards regarding human exposure to electromagnetic fields but individuals should follow the specific recommendations of their health care providers or medical device manufacturer regarding metal detectors and screening.
No, the process will be the same.
No, but you will continue to be required to swipe your VCU ID or VCUHS badge to enter the buildings.
Badge access restrictions are being heightened for all entrances that do not have weapon screening, such that most alternative entries into the environment will become Emergency Exit ONLY, and should not be used for entry into the facility.
Items that are typically required for someone’s role are permitted.
Screening personnel will notify VCU Police and appropriate Student Affairs and Human Resources protocols will be followed.
- Screening is required to access MMEC, Sanger Hall, and West Hospital at all times.
- Sanger Hall screening locations will be at the main entrance on Marshall Street, the side entrance on 11th Street, or the side entrance by Patterson Garden.
- MMEC screening will be located at the main entrance on 12th Street. Those entering MMEC by way of VCU Health System will be screened when entering the health system facilities.
- West Hospital screening will be located at the main entrance on the corner of Broad Street and 12th Street. Those entering West Hospital by way of MMEC will be screened at either MMEC or through whichever VCU Health System facility they enter.
- Those authorized to be in MMEC, Sanger Hall, and West Hospital after normal business hours will receive additional information regarding access procedures.