Medical Attention for Person in Custody

The San Angelo man charged with last weekend's car dealership burglary had initially escaped from Shannon Medical Center, he has since been apprehended. We sat down with police officials about protocol when a person in police custody needs medical attention.

A 36-year-old San Angelo man, Bradley Bishop, was arrested this week for burglarizing the Jim Bass dealership. Bishop was admitted for care at Shannon Medical Center, where he later escapes.

San Angelo Police Department Assistant Public Information Officer, Tracy Gonzalez, says per protocol, Bishop was not being guarded by police.

"We need to factor the type of crime that was committed. Was it a property crime? Was it a crime against a person or a violent crime? We need to consider that nature of the crime and then also consider the public safety," Gonzalez said.

If a person is in custody officers are assigned to guard the subject, but if medical staff determine the subject is in need of further evaluation and care, then they will be admitted.

If admitted into a hospital they are considered "unarrested" until released from medical care.

In Bishop's case, one he was admitted, police were called off. Gonzalez says, violent crimes are an exception.

"If a violent crime was committed and there was a clear danger to public safety, we would not leave the patient, who is a suspect as well," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez says, their first priority, despite the criminal case at hand, is for the subject to receive medical attention.

"We can always get an arrest warrant that we can serve later," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez says, hospital staff will notify police when a subject will be released.

"We do receive notification when the patient is being discharged, and at that time we can go pick them up and transport them to jail," Gonzalez said.

Bishop is charged with burglary of a building and possession of a controlled substance.

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