South Puget Sound K9 handler chosen
Delaney Van Ness excited to improve safety
Nearly a year ago, Delaney Van Ness joined the South Puget Sound Security Team. A dog-lover, she’d always toyed with the idea of being a K9 officer, but never thought it a possibility until the Providence Swedish South Puget Sound Security team announced it was looking into the program.
“I jumped at the opportunity to be part of the K9 program,” Delaney said. “I came from Department of Corrections as an Officer and recognized a lot of the training I was already familiar with. I also had the benefit of observing and working with K9 teams while with DOC and had always loved working with dogs in any capacity whether personal or professional. I never thought I’d have this opportunity with Providence.”
K9 programs have successfully rolled out at several Providence ministries and with funding from the Providence Southwest Washington Foundation, it was coming to St. Peter and Centralia hospitals.
Delaney has had German Shepherds most of her life. She says the timing worked out perfectly – personally and professionally – to become Providence’s first female K9 handler, and the South Puget Sound’s first K9 handler.
“I’ve always owned large dogs and they’ve always been part of my life,” she said. “This is going to be a different type of a relationship, but it’s still a love for the animal while working to provide safety to those in the hospital, and I’m looking forward to it.”
South Puget Sound is joining many other Providence service areas in bringing a K-9 team to our ministries. On a parallel path, Providence is working with a local agency to choose the actual canine to pair with Delaney. This is the same agency that other local law enforcement agencies such as Olympia and Tumwater Police departments use.
“That will help us better work and partner with them,” said Providence South Puget Sound Security Supervisor Terry Bereta.
Delaney will officially pair with a dog and begin a 10-week bonding/training course. If all goes according to plan, we will see Delaney and her canine partner patrolling Providence hallways in Olympia and Centralia this summer.
“This wouldn’t be possible without the support of our Providence Southwest Washington Foundation,” said Security Manager Michael Evans. “We thank our Foundation and we’re looking forward to seeing the K9 team in action in the coming months.”
K9 programs have been proven to:
- Improvement of the healing environment
- Keep facility grounds safe, reducing vehicle break ins and prowls
- Boost caregiver morale and provide caregiver support, increasing staff retention
- Decrease workplace violence, providing a constant physical and psychological deterrent through presence
- Improve caregiver safety
“The K9 team will be a huge deterrent to violence that will serve to protect our patients, visitors and caregivers,” Bereta said. “They will also boost morale and provide an additional barrier of protection and will allow caregivers to ‘support each other as a family would.’ ”
Other hospitals across the national who have added a K9 team have seen a reduction in crime and violence by up to 75 to 80 percent.