What Hy-Vee’s future security force likely can, and cannot, do

KCRG-TV9's Brian Tabick spoke to a security guard about the difference between law enforcement and a security guard.
Published: Jan. 16, 2022 at 10:55 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Hy-Vee announced it would be hiring and training its security staff to work at the stores across the company’s eight-state region.

Claude Howard, Jr., Mercy Medical Center’s director of security and environmental safety, who was also formerly a Marion Police Officer, said there were a lot of similarities between being an officer and a security guard. The biggest difference was the power to detain and arrest someone.

“Security is about protecting assets,” Howard said. “In a store setting, like Hy-Vee, for example, I think the guards are going to be mostly hands-off. We have to call for law enforcement assistance if the offender doesn’t come into compliance.”

Howard said security guards don’t have the power to take people to jail but can stop a person. Howard said the most important part of the job is interacting with people.

“Most of our job is to try and do the very best we can to be hands-off and verbally direct or redirect the people that we interact with,” Howard said. “We try to be compassionate and make sure people are focused and driven towards the right things.”

Howard said each security guard’s job is different. He hopes that the guards trained by Hy-Vee will focus on de-escalation tactics and reflect the diversity in the communities they work.

“If they train their guards and bless them as guards, I want them to focus on diversity,” Howard said. “Understand the verbal communication interactions and understand de-escalation techniques.”

KCRG-TV9 did reach out to Hy-Vee for comment on this story and whether or not officers would be in any eastern Iowa stores, but have not heard back.

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