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Security team coming to Hy-Vee retail stores

Hy-Vee says the officers have been through training that was designed by Hy-Vee security leaders "alongside law enforcement partners."

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — A Midwest grocer known to bring a helpful smile to every aisle will now have security officers across its eight-state region. 

Hy-Vee announced the new Hy-Vee Retail Security team on Wednesday, saying in a release that the team's creation is part of the grocer's "ongoing efforts to ensure the health and safety of both its customers and employees." 

According to Hy-Vee, only one officer will be in each store during operating hours. The company says many officers come from law enforcement backgrounds and "are specially trained to defuse situations and equipped to protect the safety of both Hy-Vee customers and employees." 

When asked why the grocer is making the move to security in stores, Hy-Vee spokesperson Christina Gayman said it isn't in response to any incidents within the company's stores. 

"However, nationwide, there has been an increase in retail theft, and our goal is to ensure the consistent and ongoing safety of our customers and employees," Gayman said via email. 

Hy-Vee says the officers have been through training that was designed by company security leaders "alongside law enforcement partners." Local 5 reached out to Hy-Vee to learn more about the training process, but no one was available to talk this week. 

The grocer also told Local 5 that it's worked with third-party security contractors or off-duty police officers before, but the goal with this team is to create a consistent service and look. 

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In a promotional video sent to Local 5, security officers are seen in uniform carrying items like a bodycam, flashlight, stun gun and what appears to be a handgun. 

“Hy-Vee has a strong history of doing anything for our customers, and these officers will be held to that same standard,” said Jeremy Gosch, Hy-Vee’s president and chief operating officer, in a press release. “These officers will help provide another layer of safety and security for our customers, and will work alongside our store employees to deliver the same helpful smiles and outstanding service everyone expects at their local store.”

That release from Wednesday says officers are in "several stores now" and others are still working on their training. Gayman told Local 5 there are officers working in the Twin Cities, more will start working in 2022. 

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