Anchorage

Anchorage police called to North Star hospital 3 times in one night after young patients break glass, activate sprinklers

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Anchorage police were called to North Star youth psychiatric hospital three times Tuesday night, after patients broke glass and activated sprinklers.

The rapid-fire police responses were the latest in what has been a string of trouble at the hospital, a locked psychiatric facility that serves children and adolescents. In early October, less than a month ago, police visited the hospital five times in a weekend to respond to escapes and destructive damage to the building.

The first call came at 7:58 p.m., when police were called to the hospital’s facility at 2530 DeBarr Road for a report that “juveniles had broken into a room, broke window glass and threatened staff,” according to a summary provided by the Anchorage Police Department. “Minor injuries to the juveniles were discovered due to the broken glass.”

Then, at 10:27, police returned for an assault. Police determined there was no crime, according to the APD summary.

Thirty minutes later, police were back again: This time, a patient activated a sprinkler system, sending water pouring from ceilings.

In both the broken glass and sprinkler incidents, charges against the young patients were “forwarded to the Division of Juvenile Justice,” according to APD.

In an email North Star CEO Anne Marie Lynch confirmed that a patient “in our care broken a sprinkler head and another patient broke a glass window,” she wrote. No one was arrested and no one was injured, Lynch said, contrary to what APD reported about the broken glass.

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“Our facility has a good working relationship with the police department and we appreciate the ongoing partnership,” North Star CEO Anne Marie Lynch said in an email. North Star, she said, has “processes in place to ensure that the Police are contacted only when appropriate.”

Records show the Anchorage Police Department has been called to the North Star’s DeBarr Road campuses more than 100 times in 2022.

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Michelle Theriault Boots

Michelle Theriault Boots is a reporter who covers news and features about life in Alaska, and has been focusing on corrections and psychiatric care issues in the state. Contact her at mtheriault@adn.com.

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