Hy-Vee adding team of armed retail security officers across some stores

Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 9:50 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Hy-Vee stores across the country could get an extra layer of security.

The supermarket chain announced on Wednesday the beginning of its new Hy-Vee Retail Security team. Right now only a few Hy-Vee stores have these new officers, but the chain will gradually add them to other stores.

The new Hy-Vee officers are not in Springfield yet, but the chain says adding them across its stores is all about boosting safety.

”I think across the country, we’re seeing an increase in thefts and different crimes in retail locations,” said Hy-Vee Vice President of Security Jamie Sipes.” So HyVee made the decision to move forward with a forward facing security program that includes the tools that an officer would need to keep employees and customers safe.”

Video Hy-Vee shared with KY3 shows that the officers will be armed with a taser as well as a handgun.

”A lot of the people that we’re hiring have prior law enforcement experience,” Sipes said. “And so the average officer that comes to us has about 1400 hours of de-escalation training, crisis intervention training, those skills that we’re looking for within our security officers.”

HyVee says the officers will be armed and trained for diffusing tough situations.

“We’re really a visual deterrent to criminal activity and violence,” Sipes said. “And so we are not looking to interrupt people’s rights. We’re there to be an extension of our legendary customer service within HyVee to ensure the safety of our customers and our employees.

One Springfield Hy-Vee shopper said she saw similar security efforts while living in Las Vegas.

”I saw it every time I went in the store into a grocery store,” said shopper Brigett Gladden. “A lot of Walgreens and CVS’s also had security guards.”

Gladden said some stores offered security to help prevent crime. She said she thinks it may help do the same at other stores.

“I guess they had a lot of theft there,” Gladden described. “And so that was their way of cutting back on the shoplifting.”

When it comes to extra security, she said she does not worry about her own safety very much.

”I think as far as feeling safer, it would depend on the town you were in and the location in that different town,” Gladden said. “It didn’t really make me feel safer when I lived in Las Vegas to walk in and see a security guard.”

Hy-Vee says it will add officers gradually over the next year.

”Any stores right now that have a security officer through a third party vendor or an off duty police officer, that’s going to be the stores that we go to first to kind of implement our program,” Sipes said.

Sipes said Hy-Vee does not necessarily intend to have a security officer in every store. Right now the company does not know if or when its Springfield store will get an officer.

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