Undercover, Under Arrest: NewsChannel 11's Investigation into Hospital Security - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/24/07

Undercover, Under Arrest: NewsChannel 11's Investigation into Hospital Security

NewsChannel 11 investigative reporter Cecelia Jones was arrested last month after she went undercover at two Amarillo hospitals. Her assignment was hospital security. In the wake of two baby abductions in Lubbock, she set out to see how safe West Texas hospitals really are.

NewsChannel 11 chose to do this story simply to find out about hospital security. The plan was to walk the public areas wearing scrubs, observe whatever security measures may be in place, stick to only public areas, not to enter private rooms and identify myself if anyone from the hospital asked who I was. So that is what I did.  

NewsChannel 11 is about to take you inside two Amarillo hospitals, Northwest Texas Healthcare and Baptist St. Anthony's Health System.  We went undercover to watch for certain things; were nurses wearing name badges? How were they wearing them? Is hospital staff clearly identified as employees?  Would anyone ask me who I was? 

Our goal was to find out what security measures each hospital had in place in its maternity areas. You're about to find out, our investigation into hospital security not only proves these were secure hospitals, but that an undercover investigation is definitely not welcomed.

The first stop was inside Northwest's Children's Hospital.  I used a public entrance, stopped to read the directory to find out where the maternity ward was located and used the closest elevator to take me there.

We must point out that our hidden camera stopped working at this hospital, but the hospital released a surveillance photo.  It is the only snapshot we have inside the maternity ward at Northwest.  Their camera snapped a picture of me walking down a public hallway past a nurse wheeling a newborn into the nursery, which is as close as I ever got to a baby. The nurse asked me if I was employed at the hospital.  I told her "no," that I was "waiting around." 

After ten minutes had passed, I was stopped by hospital security, pulled into a private office and asked who I was. I flashed photo media credentials, issued to me by the Lubbock Police Department and KCBD.

I told them I was a reporter from Lubbock doing a story about hospital security.  They wrote down my information and escorted me out of the hospital without threatening me with arrest or issuing me a trespass warning.

Baptist St. Anthony was my second stop in our hidden camera investigation.  BSA is within walking distance of Northwest, so I knew there was a chance this hospital was expecting my arrival.

BSA is under construction. I entered the building marked "main entrance." I saw other citizens in the hallways too.  Before going to the maternity ward, I stepped into a public restroom to make sure my hidden camera was still recording and then left.

I followed the signs that read pediatrics and used the elevator that took me to the second floor. I walked the public hallways and saw a young girl in a wheelchair and a nurse and immediately knew I wasn't on the maternity ward floor.

"Where is the maternity ward?" I asked.  "Third floor," said the desk attendant. "Thanks," I replied.

As I got on the elevator, I noticed it didn't go the third floor. I stopped an employee and asked for directions.  

"I have a question. Do you know how to get the 3rd floor?" I asked. "Go all the way down -- the easiest way -- see the exit -- turn to the right and the elevators are right there," said a nurse.  "OK, thanks," I said. 

This is where everything turned sour.  Amarillo police showed up to send a message that hospital security is nothing to investigate.  Even though I explained who I was and what I was trying to do, that wasn't good enough.  It ultimately ended this investigation with an arrest and 12 hours in jail facing serious charges.

What happened at the second hospital is causing a stir at the Potter County District Attorney's office. When this story continues, we'll show you conversations between me and police up to the time I was arrested.  Part two of NewsChannel 11's Investigation Into Hospital Security continues Thursday night at 10 p.m.

3/28/07
KCBD Reporter Arrested During Investigation
NewsChannel 11's Investigative Reporter Cecelia Jones is back home after bonding out of jail late Wednesday afternoon.  Amarillo Police arrested Cecelia Tuesday night while she conducted an undercover investigation on hospital security.  Wednesday, the department charged Cecelia with two counts of attempted aggravated kidnapping.  NewsChannel 11's Ben Lawson has the full story.

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