STORY BY ALEX PRUSA
The long hours continuously pacing the aisles of Spirit Halloween store would practically drive me insane.
Those Friday and Saturday night shifts left me with so much open time, I found myself analyzing the simplest of things that most people wouldn’t even notice.
But hey, I was 17-years old and any sort of income was valuable to me.
The weeks surrounding Halloween would drive the store traffic up dramatically, leading to high sales but also increasing theft.
Around these weeks my boss would contact the mall about bringing in one of the mall cops into the shop to keep a close watch.
This led me to meeting a great guy by the name of Barry.
Barry was assigned to our store to keep watch.
Along with Barry’s friendliness came some interesting physical attributes. Barry was probably 5’8” and close to 320lbs.
The rare store patrols that he would take would leave his cheeks rosy and pockets of sweat in a variety of spots throughout his body.
We all enjoyed Barry’s presence around the store, but all of us including Barry, knew that if somebody decided to steal a costume from the store there wasn’t a chance that they would be caught.
That experience left me with a curiosity to pay attention to other mall’s cops.
Maybe I have looked in the wrong places, but I couldn’t help but notice a trend of a majority of the mall cops containing these same physical attributes that Barry had.
This left me with the ultimate question of: “Can these gentlemen really keep our malls secure?”
Malls have become a sought out target for violent attacks. They have progressively become more common in the recent years.
This past year we have seen several mall shootings including the incident in Columbia, Maryland that caught much public attention.
With this being the case, our malls need top of the line security that can properly deal with violent situations like these.
Now the arguments claiming that mall cops go through a hiring process and training is correct.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, qualifications for hiring are met with a high school diploma and 48 hours of training within the first 100 days of service.
Are these qualifications enough?
I will agree that this training process should give these mall cops the skill set to deal with almost everyday shenanigans like arguments, pesty kids, shoplifting and the occasional fight.
But shouldn’t we always have that what-if question in our mind? Like what-if an armed mentally unstable teenager comes walking into the mall with intent to harm people?
Now obviously I’m not implying that heavier qualifications for a mall cop are going to allow them to completely handle these situations.
What I’m saying is that they themselves, and everyone who attends shopping malls, deserve more of a chance towards safety if one of these devastating events breaks out.
This position needs heavier qualifications and job training because it is a job that involves the safety of the public.