|Deborah Iemmiti, Director of Security, Coney Island Hospital|
For 20 years, Deborah Iemmiti walked the beat as a New York City police officer in Fort Greene, Bedford Stuyvesant and Coney Island. She’s on patrol again, this time as Director of Security at Coney Island Hospitalwhere she leads the force that keeps the vast 747,000-square-foot complex secure and hundreds of patients and staff members safe.
“I’ve come full circle,” she said with a smile.
The NYPD veteran, who grew up in Nebraska, rose through the ranks to lieutenant and spent seven years as an Integrity Control Officer doing confidential and internal investigations. She draws on her law enforcement expertise and negotiating skills as she moves through the hallways and public spaces at the hospital.
On a busy morning at the hospital recently, Iemmiti received an urgent phone call from a nurse: “Come right away.”
“The supervisors and peace officers were struggling to calm an unruly patient,” Iemmiti said. “He was so disruptive that the medical staff couldn’t do their job. They couldn’t treat the other patients.” She raced to the site and simply talked with the man until he calmed down.
She said the job has similarities to the police force.
“The main goal is the same -- to help people and to provide a secure environment,” she said. “It’s my responsibility to make sure that the patients are safe, the professional staff is safe, the hospital is secure, and patients can get the medical care they came for.”
Iemmiti oversees the work of 41 hospital peace officers and six supervisors. She and her team guard medical equipment and medications and protect property worth millions of dollars.
They maintain order through their “omnipresence,” she said. “Our officers continually patrol floors and check employee and visitor IDs to ensure that everyone who is here belongs here.”
The officers investigate the most common incidents: larcenies and lost property. More serious matters are referred to the NYPD. Iemmiti is the liaison to the local police precinct and to the police counter-terrorism unit.
Iemmiti moved to New York City in 1981 after graduating from the University of Nebraska with a sociology degree. Many of her friends were taking the police test, so she took it too. Soon she found herself running up several flights of stairs, dragging a 200-pound dummy around an obstacle course, and climbing over a five-foot wall to meet the fitness requirements, she said. Iemmiti passed and became an NYPD officer assigned to the Housing Bureau.
Jerry Brienza, Director of Investigations with the Office of the HHC Inspector General, was Iemmiti’s sergeant then.
“She showed a lot of dedication and a will to get things done right. New York City never seemed to faze her,” Brienza said. “Her work as an Integrity Control Officer required an ability to maintain confidence and have extraordinary veracity and honor.”
Iemmiti got a scholarship from the Mayor’s Graduate Scholarship Program and earned a Masters degree in Urban Affairs from Hunter College in 1995.
After retiring from the NYPD, Iemmiti, who is divorced and has an 18-yr old son and a 16 yr. old daughter, took some time off then landed a job as Construction Project Manager for HHC in 2008. When she was asked to return to police work last fall, this time as Director of Security at Coney Island, she jumped at the chance. Her knowledge of the community helps her do her job with confidence and understanding.
When she’s not at work, she plays tennis and works out with weights. She’s an avid reader and one of the first things she did when she went to work at Coney Island Hospital was join the hospital’s monthly book club. She likes spy thrillers and suspense novels.