WINDSOR -- Leadership at Hotel Dieu Grace Hospital announced they will no longer be contracting out services for their security team.

More than 30 men and women will now be employed by HDGH.

"Safety is not just a word at Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare it is a culture, commitment and expectation," said Bill Marra, HDGH's VP of external affairs. "Recruiting, training, retaining and evaluating our HDGH Security Team allows us to develop value-based security leaders and a shared sense of purpose and empowerment."

The decision meant a $600,000 one-time capital investment to renovate a 2,500 square foot Security Operations Centre fixed with an eight monitor, three workstations and 14 computer command centre, training space, meeting room, equipment and Personal Alarms System.

Operationally the move meant an increase of $400,000 to the $1.8-million operating budget.

"Our HDGH Guards see and monitor a lot on our west-end campus- individuals facing end-of- life, mental health and addictions issues, child and youth mental health, behavioural concerns and those with stressors from physical trauma," said manager of security Pat Keane. "We aren't just building a team, but building a program, a culture, a new way of safety and security."

HDGH is one of only a handful of hospitals in the province to complete this transition.

Officials say it results in hiring and retaining high quality individuals and allows for specialized program-specific training for the unique complexities of their programs and services, as well as physical size of main and offsite HDGH campuses.

Ontario Nurses' Association president Vicki McKenna says it will help keep workers and patients safe.

"I am delighted to celebrate the decision of Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare to bring security in-house," said McKenna. "As a long-time advocate for improved safety and security of our nurses - and their patients - I am pleased that this is one facility that did not need to be convinced, but has taken proactive action. ONA commends them for their decision and hopes to see all health-care facilities be so proactive, so that all health-care workers and their patients will be safe."

HDGH's security personnel are trained in control and defense tactics, non-violent crisis intervention, effective communications, Criminal Code applications, first aid and CPR, emergency management and have completed a comprehensive on-site training program.