What Your Local Mall Cop Won't Tell You
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What Your Local Mall Cop Won't Tell You1 of 8
By Kelley L. Carter
They're watching you, watching them, watching you. We're talking about the men and women in uniform… at the mall. And during holiday shopping season, they mean serious business. Glo talked to the officers at Minnesota's Mall of America (and stars of TLC reality show Mall Cops: Mall of America) to find out what they’d never tell the hoards of harried shoppers!
Editor's Note: Officer names have been changed
We're In Shape2 of 8
Don't try to outrun a mall cop—you won't win. "We have a lot of ground to cover and a lot of people to protect," says Will, who lets us know that he has had to chase down more than a few perpetrators.
Rent-A-Cop? Not3 of 8
Whether you're talking about a small mall in a suburb or a gigantic one like Mall of America, these people aren't slouches who couldn't make it in the big leagues. "We like to say that the Mall of America is a city in itself, so at any given time, we could be the third-largest city in Minnesota," says Jessica. Mall officers are trained to handle hostage scenarios, shootings and terrorist attacks—not just nagging questions about where the restrooms are located. "We want to keep up our skills and be prepared for anything that happens," adds Jessica.
It's Hard To Keep A Straight Face4 of 8
When shoppers lock their keys in the car or get caught trying on clothes in the middle of the store, Jessica admits that it's hard to keep a straight face. "I mean, you really can't laugh in their face, but you pretty much just try to keep your cool until you're not in the public eye, and then you just let it all out in the back hallways," she says.
We're Watching You5 of 8
The staffing levels are increased at nearly every mall in the country during this time of year. And not all of them are dressed in identifying suits. "We up our staff, and we'll prepare ourselves," says Will.
Crime Doesn't Pay6 of 8
When Chris got a routine call about a shoplifting female, he handed her over to police, who then discovered that she had a number of warrants out on her arrest. She called her boyfriend to help bail her out. His solution? Head back to the mall for more loot. Once he was caught, says Chris, "he admitted that he was trying to steal some watches to raise bail money to get his girlfriend out of jail."
Our Hands—and Feet—Are Dangerous7 of 8
At Mall of America, each mall cop has to undergo 400 hours of training before they can work solo. And many of the cops there are trained in Krav Maga, the self-defense employed by Israeli Defense Forces. So chances are that those rabble-rousing teens don't stand a chance against these officers.
We're Packin'8 of 8
Believe it or not, mall cops are in constant contact with the FBI and Department of Homeland Security. Using the mall as a layover job to fighting crime outside the shopping center, about 80 percent of mall cops go on to work in some other form of law enforcement. And while they don't have guns, when they're on duty at the mall, most are holstered down with pepper spray, a taser or batons.
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