DSHS thanks law enforcement, takes additional safety measures af - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

DSHS thanks law enforcement, takes additional safety measures after patients captured

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

Following the capture of dangerous accused murderer of Anthony Garver by Spokane County Sheriff's deputies Friday night, the Department of Social and Health Services has issued a statement thanking law enforcement agencies and promising stricter security measures at both Western and Eastern State Hospitals.

In a statement released Saturday afternoon, DSHS thanked members of the Lakewood Police Department, Des Moines Police Department, Spokane Police Department, Spokane County Police Department and the U.S. Marshals for quickly capturing two patients who escaped Western State Hospital through a broken window Wednesday night.

"Specifically, we also want to thank Chief Mike Zaro and his staff at the Lakewood Police Department for their partnership and ongoing support to help us balance the need to operate the hospital and provide treatment for mental illness without violating the civil rights of patients, while keeping the community, staff and patients safe. The balance of those requirements in a psychiatric therapeutic setting is difficult and benefits from the experts in each of those areas,” said Carla Reyes, assistant secretary for DSHS Behavioral Health Administration.

“The Washington State Patrol, U.S. Marshall and Spokane County Sheriff teamed up to locate the patient that was still at large. Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich and his deputies did a remarkable job of apprehending the patient without incident and we thank them for their successful efforts,” she said. “We look forward to continuing the dialogue with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office and will be extending an invitation for them to join us in reviewing security at Eastern State Hospital and implementing improvements wherever possible.”

 The hospital has restricted patient-earned privileges that allow them escorted and unescorted access to Western State Hospital grounds and off-campus excursions throughout the weekend as the hospital increases its security measures. The security team at the hospital has also organized additional patrols.

The measures follow the Wednesday escape from inside the hospital of two patients who, through a change in the Involuntary Treatment Act, were moved from the hospital forensic unit for criminal defendants to the civil commitment ward. During that time there were two other unescorted leaves from the hospital – one Wednesday morning, a patient who was on an escorted outing on campus and has not yet been found. Another patient who has been approved for discharge and is awaiting community placement did not return from a visit Friday evening to a fast-food restaurant. The patient, who was not considered dangerous, has full unescorted grounds privileges and was authorized and able to leave the grounds. He was found by Seattle Police Saturday afternoon.

The DOC has taken custody of Anthony Garver and he is being held and treated in Airway Heights Correction Center. 

“Although the escape from inside the hospital Wednesday is rare, unauthorized leave is not an uncommon occurrence. However, two unauthorized leaves and two escapes in one week is unacceptable and immediate steps are being taken to improve security at the facility and to retrain staff. The safety of the public, the patients and staff is paramount,” said Reyes. 

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