State Senator Jim Seward announced Tuesday senate approval of a bill granting peace officer status to officers and members of the Bassett Healthcare Network security force. Senator Seward’s bill was the result of a request from Bassett Healthcare and has the support of local, county, and state law enforcement agencies. The legislation cites the need for Bassett’s security personnel to be able to maximally respond to emergencies. Such emergencies may include unauthorized individuals seeking narcotics, disruptive actions by people experiencing behavioral health issues, and individuals threatening to harm others. As designated peace officers, Bassett’s security staff will be given certain powers only while on hospital and clinic grounds or immediately adjacent properties. Among the powers stipulated: issue appearance tickets; take into custody an individual who appears to be mentally ill and a threat; carry out warrantless searches; make warrantless arrests. Individuals must also complete specialized peace officer training. Companion legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Bill Magee has been introduced in the state assembly.