New Hampshire Hospital shooting prompts security plan for all state facilities

New Hampshire Hospital provides acute, inpatient psychiatric services. (Hadley Barndollar | New Hampshire Bulletin)

New Hampshire Hospital provides acute, inpatient psychiatric services. (Hadley Barndollar | New Hampshire Bulletin) Hadley Barndollar

By SRUTHI GOPALAKRISHNAN

Monitor staff

Published: 11-29-2023 4:30 PM

In the aftermath of the fatal New Hampshire Hospital shooting two weeks ago, the state Department of Safety is spearheading a comprehensive security review across all state facilities.

Recommendations include emergency operation training and significant enhancements to building access and surveillance systems for swifter and more effective incident management, according to a report from Robert Quinn, the commissioner of the Department of Safety.

Gov. Chris Sununu ordered an assessment of current security protocols and presented recommendations to move forward at all state facilities after security guard Bradley Haas was shot and killed at the entrance of the hospital while doing his job. 

“Many employees have been shaken by this incident and in every setting, their safety is our number one priority,” Sununu wrote. “Providing a safe working environment is a job that is never done, however, we are moving forward with all of the Department’s recommendations and will continue to assess additional necessary steps moving forward on an ongoing basis.”

The incident at the state psychiatric facility on Clinton Street involved John Madore, 33, who entered the front lobby with a 9-millimeter handgun, fatally shooting Haas. Madore was subsequently shot and killed by a state trooper, and the incident was contained to the front lobby, police said.

The front lobby does not have any device scanner right as someone enters the doors to the facility. The security officer and scanner are stationed a few feet away from the doors. Plans to redesign the lobby with ballistic glass and other security features are in progress.

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The state’s security plan recommends upgrading the existing weapon detection system to scan visitors, staff and patients for guns, knives, and other prohibited items as they enter the facility, increase surveillance camera coverage in and around the facility and improve emergency notification systems.

Among the recommendations, is the installation of bollards at the main entrance to prevent unauthorized vehicles from entering the complex.

At present the main entrance to the hospital is blocked off with fencing and a uniformed trooper has been stationed outside the alternate entrance.

The State Office Complex Police Force services the New Hampshire Hospital and the State Office Complex. Now, measures are being taken to revise the hospital policy to allow officers to carry firearms throughout the premises. The hospital is set to engage private security services, ensuring the presence of three armed guards 24/7.

Collaboration with Concord Police further strengthens the security measures, with an agreement in place for local police to assist in staffing a stationary post at the hospital’s exterior entrance.

Other recommendations include assessing current security measures and systems at all facilities and active shooter training for state employees.

“It is our intent to share the commissioner’s memo with all hospitals for their review taking into consideration the current processes they utilize for the safety and security of patients, visitors, and staff and for the building operations they oversee,” said Steve Ahnen, president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association in an email statement. 

Health officials pledged to work with the Department of Safety and other state agencies to implement the recommendations without delay.