A ‘sign of the times’ at the grocery store | Business

In the future, those pushing a cart through the aisles of a local grocery store may find more than stockers and other shoppers.

Hy-Vee has announced plans to introduce its own, possibly armed, security guards to stores in the company’s eight-state service territory. The Hy-Vee store security team will be “trained to de-escalate situations and equipped to protect the safety of Hy-Vee customers and employees,” the company said in a statement.

The Des Moines, Iowa-based company issued a press release in late December, but declined to make an official store available for further comment.

A spokeswoman for the store told the Monks Register that the guards would have “the same tools as third-party security guards and off-duty law enforcement officers.” A photo showed Hy-Vee guards equipped with pistols, Tasers and body cameras.

Hy-Vee, like many retail stores, is already working with third-party contractors and off-duty police to provide security in its stores. Hy-Vee’s initiative will make the company’s own security guards available during all business hours, according to the press release.

sergeant. Roy Hoskins, who works in crime prevention for the St. Joseph Police Department, said most large retail stores have sophisticated loss prevention and security operations, from cameras to employees making sure customers do not skip the line at self-checkouts. Much of this effort happens behind the scenes. Hy-Vee’s security employees would be much more visible.

“I think it’s a sign of the times,” Hoskins said. “A lot of places are going in that direction. I think it will definitely impact the level of flying there.

The grocery chain would not be the first entity to call in armed security guards. In 2014, security personnel at the current Mosaic Life Care were permitted to carry firearms. In 2007, Missouri Western State University campus police began carrying guns.

One of the issues for the private security industry may be the inconsistency of training and background, compared to law enforcement officers licensed with a police department or sheriff.

Hy-Vee said it would subject its guards to training designed by its own security and law enforcement partners.

“These officers will provide another layer of safety and security for our customers,” Hy-Vee President and Chief Operating Officer Jeremy Gosch said in a statement provided by the company.

Mosaic and Western employ security personnel with prior law enforcement experience.

In St. Joseph, the city licenses 12 separate private security companies to operate at various businesses and other locations in the city. The Ordinance Code gives the Chief of Police some regulatory authority over private security, although it is unclear what this entails.

A bill in the Missouri Legislature seeks to take a more statewide approach. Bill 1527 would require private security guards to register with the state and meet minimum training and certification standards.

Hoskins said his personal view is that more standardization of training and background may become necessary if private security ranks continue to grow.

“I don’t know if they’re going through anything like what we’re going through with the police academy, on-the-job training and annual training, but I’d like to think they can take some steps to train people properly. “, did he declare.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics ranks private security as the 16th fastest growing occupation that does not require a college degree. Health care aides are expected to experience the strongest job growth among occupations that do not require a degree.

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