‘Decoy’ has gnawing desire to work with TMC K9 Crime Prevention team

Monty Watt TMC Security Officer

Monty Watt
TMC Security Officer

TMC Security Officer Monty Watt is a self-described “adrenaline junkie,” who loves nothing more than getting decked out in a suit that makes him look like the Michelin Man, and taking a bite from a 100-pound K9 – one of TMC Security’s highly trained dogs. Sure, it may not be for most of us, but Watt says he was hooked the first time he did it. 

“It’s a lot like being at an amusement park.  It’s a little scary since you don’t know what’s going to happen, or how the dog is going to react, but since you’re in the suit, you get the confidence to confront the dog because you know that you’re not going to get hurt,” he said.

Watt hopes to become a K9 handler in the future.  TMC currently has two K9 teams.  TMC Security Supervisor, Crime Prevention, K9 Unit, Jim Myers, is the handler for Ax, a 6-year-old Czech Shepherd.  Officer Cisco Montoya has Orbe, a 5-year-old Czech Shepherd.  Montoya also got hooked the first time he did decoy work.  Years of showing interest in the program and volunteering his time paid off when he was promoted to K9 officer.  Watt hopes for the same result.  His enthusiasm and dedication – he’s been a decoy for five years – will certainly look favorable if the hospital decides to fund another K9 team.  “At 42 years old, I don’t see myself working for a regular police department, and I plan on staying at TMC long term, so I want to be part of TMC’s elite security force,” he said.

TMC Security Officer Monty Watt at a K9 training session

TMC Security Officer Monty Watt at a K9 training session

Decoy training is done five to six times a month as part of the dogs’ maintenance training.  “It’s always a different scenario, and is done in different locations or buildings.  We try to make the experience as real as possible,” said Myers.  “It helps keep their skills sharp.” 

That’s especially important considering these dogs typically have fewer opportunities to go after suspects in real life, like other law enforcement K9’s do.  “In the history of the Crime Prevention Program, we’ve only had one suspect who received a bite.  We need to make sure our dogs can do what they’ve been trained to do.  We need them to always be ready to perform,” said Myers.  

In addition to working on these dogs’ physical skills, they’re also working on their mental game.  “There is a right and a wrong way to be a decoy,” explained Watt.  “The right way is to let the dog feel like he’s won so that he is confident of himself in a real situation.”

Get an A+ in back-to-school safety with the TMC Security Team

Security_Services_SealsBack-to-school is without a doubt an exciting time for families, but let’s face it – it can also be stressful for parents and children alike.  With multiple schedules to coordinate, lunches to pack, and homework to get done, it’s easy to get caught in the hustle and bustle of the school year and let our guard down when it comes to child safety. 

TMC’s Security Services and the Crime Prevention K9 Unit offer the following information about simple things caregivers can do, and meaningful conversations they can have with the children in their care. 

DPS Sex Offender website

Take a few minutes and locate where registered sex offenders are in your neighborhood, by your child’s school, or any other parts of town you visit frequently.  The Arizona Department of Public Safety created this user-friendly website: http://www.azdps.gov/Services/Sex_Offender/

Analysis from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children found that approximately 32 percent of abduction attempts happened when a child was going to or from school, or a school-related activity.  The five most common tricks used by individuals attempting to abduct a child included offering the child a ride, offering the child candy or sweets, asking the child questions, offering the child money or using an animal to lure them into their car.

     ▪  Tell your children they should never go anywhere with anyone without first getting your permission, even if someone tells them it is an emergency. 
     ▪  Set clear boundaries about the places and homes your child may visit. 
     ▪  Make it a rule for your children to check in with you when they arrive at or depart from a location. 
     ▪  Talk openly with your child. 
          ∙  Encourage them to tell you or another trusted adult if anyone makes them feel scared, confused or sad. 
          ∙  Teach them that it is OK to tell you what happened and they won’t be a “tattletale” for telling.    
          ∙  Help your children identify trusted adults who may be able to help them if they need assistance. 
          ∙  Pay attention to your children and listen to them, as this will help them build feelings of safety and security.

Empower your child with this information in the event they are approached or followed

     ▪  Tell your child it is more important to get out of a threatening situation than it is to be polite.
     ▪  If they are approached by someone who makes them feel uncomfortable, tell them to trust their gut feeling, and get away. 
     ▪  If someone tries to kidnap them, tell them to do anything they can to draw attention to themselves – yell, kick, scream, pull away, or hit.

Getting to and from school safely

School buses are the safest mode of motorized transportation for getting children to and from school, but injuries can occur if kids are not careful and aware when getting on and off the bus.

     ▪  Walk with your child to the bus stop and wait with them until it arrives. 
     ▪  Make sure children stand at least three giant steps back from the curb as the bus approaches. 
          ∙  Young children do not have the same frame of reference for safety as adults do.
          ∙  They may not look before they leap, which is why it is so important for them to be supervised.
     ▪  Teach kids to wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before getting off, and remind them never to walk behind the bus. 
          ∙  If your child needs to cross the street after exiting the bus, they should take five giant steps in front of the bus, make eye contact with the bus driver and cross when the driver indicates it’s safe.
          ∙  Teach kids to look left, right and left again before crossing the street.

Surviving the summer sizzle with the TMC Security team

Security_Services_SealsTMC Security Services and the Crime Prevention K9 Unit are dedicated to maintaining a safe community in Southern Arizona.  Officers provide the following useful safety information to help you and your family stay safe this summer.

Monsoon driving safety tips

If you’ve lived in Tucson for any length of time, you know the drill.  In the late afternoon, dark clouds fill the sky, and the town can be soaked in a matter of minutes.  Washes and roadways can resemble small rivers, creating dangerous driving conditions.

      ▪  Never try to cross flooded roads.  Even shallow running water exerts 
         great pressure and can sweep your car off the road or stall your engine.  
         Under the Arizona “Stupid Motorist Law,” a driver requiring rescue 
         from a flooded wash with posted warning signs or gates may be held 
         responsible for the cost of the water rescue.  These drivers may be cited
         by law enforcement for numerous charges depending on the incident.

     ▪  If you’re driving and a find your visibility limited due to heavy rain or 
         blowing dust, do the following:
          ∙  Pull off to the right side as far as possible. 
          ∙  Turn off your engine and lights.
          ∙  Stay inside your vehicle.
          ∙  Keep your foot off the brake pedal.  Drivers may see your lights and 
              assume you are on the road in motion.
          ∙  If you approach an intersection with a non-functional traffic signal,
              treat it as a four-way stop.
          ∙  Listen to your car radio for the latest traffic and weather conditions. 

Summer safety in vehicles

The TMC Security team encourages people to use extreme caution during the summer’s extreme heat.  When temperatures outside reach 100 degrees, the temperature inside a car can reach 138 degrees in five minutes!  Within 15 minutes, it can reach 150 degrees, even with a window partially open.

In these conditions, children and pets can die in a matter of minutes. Infants and small children are particularly vulnerable; the younger the child, the faster the onset of heat stroke and dehydration.  In 2012, at least 37 heatstroke deaths of children in vehicles were reported nationwide.  So far this year, 21 children have died in hot vehicles.  Follow this advice to make sure your loved ones don’t succumb to the summer sizzle.

     ▪  Children
          ∙  Simply do not leave kids in the car.
          ∙  Secure your car keys so children don’t have access to them.
          ∙  Warn your children about playing in the car by themselves without
             adult supervision.
          ∙  Get your kids out of the car first, and then worry about bringing in
              groceries, etc.
          ∙  Ask your child’s day care provider about their plan to make sure kids
             are not left in the provider’s car or van.

     ▪  Pets
          ∙  Never take your dog with you to run errands in which you plan on
             leaving him/her in the car – even for a few minutes.

Cracking down on summer crime with the TMC Security team


TMC Security Services and the Crime Prevention K9 Unit are dedicated to maintaining a safe community in Southern Arizona.  Officers provide the following useful safety information to help you and your family avoid becoming victims of crime this summer.

Vacation Safety

Don’t let your summer vacation turn stressful by becoming a victim of criminals who like to prey on unsuspecting vacationers!

     Before you leave:
          ▪  Schedule a friend or neighbor to pick up mail and/or deliveries.
          ▪  Make your house look “lived in.”  Use timers to run lights and a radio
             on and off during expected hours.
         ▪  Make a photocopy of all your credit cards before you leave home so
             that you have a record of the card numbers in the event your credit
             cards are lost or stolen.
          ▪  Program the phone number to your bank and credit card company
              into your cell phone in the event your checks or credit cards are lost
              or stolen. 
          ▪  Avoid posting anything on social media about your plans to leave
     On the road:
          ▪  Always lock valuables out of sight.  Carry wallets, checkbooks and 
             purses with you.
          ▪  Do not advertise that you are a tourist.  Place maps and travel
              brochures in the glove compartment.
     At the hotel:
          ▪  Take a few minutes and locate the fire escape that is closest to your
          ▪  Use all auxiliary locking devices on doors and windows when
              occupying or leaving your room.
          ▪  When unpacking your things, arrange them so that you’ll know if
              anything turns up missing.
          ▪  Close up and lock your suitcases whenever you leave so that they
              cannot be used to carry property out of your room.
          ▪  Don’t hesitate to report any suspicious persons or activities to hotel
              management and the police.

Summer safety for children

The summer is a time when parents should remind their children about all things safety.  It’s also a time when children are often left home alone while parents work.  Empowering your child with the knowledge of what to do in certain situations will give you both peace of mind.

     ▪  Participate in TMC’s Children’s Identification Program.  A
         fingerprint/identification card allows parents to collect specific 
         information by easily recording the physical characteristics and 
         fingerprints of their children.  Please call (520) 324-5397 for more
     ▪  Make sure children know their full name, address and telephone
         number.  Make sure they know their parents’ names too.
     ▪  When children are home alone, make sure they know to keep the door
         locked and closed for everyone.  Inform them to let the phone ring if
         someone calls, and to call 911 if they hear or notice anything suspicious.

Suspicious people

Suspicious behavior is difficult to define, but the key here is to trust your gut.  If something seems out of place, is not quite right, or just raises a red flag in your mind, report it immediately.  “See something, say something.”  If you see a suspicious person, do your best to note the following:

  ▪  What they are wearing.
  ▪  What they look like (height, build, hair color, skin complexion, etc.).
  ▪  Where they are.
  ▪  The direction they are heading if they are moving.
  ▪  What they are doing.
  ▪  Any vehicles they are using (type, color and license plate number if possible).

Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461