Mall of America discusses new security measures

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Mall of America is giving new insight into the security measures there.

Among the topics discussed during a media tour Friday, mall officials talked about metal detectors and body cameras.

“Our guests’ security starts before they actually ever get inside the building,” said Will Bernhjelm, VP of Security at Mall of America. “Some layers are very visible, some layers aren’t.”

One of those layers that’s easy to spot is the K-9 unit.

“We have 6 bomb dogs on site, they all come home with us, they’re part of the family,” said Lt. Kenny McDonough, with Mall of America Security.

Mall security is also looking into expanding this K-9 unit to include firearm detection dogs, rather than adding metal detectors.

“I know there has been a lot of talk about Mall of America and metal detectors and I get it, I can understand how that’s a logical thing for people to go to,” Bernhjelm said.

Bernhjelm stresses other big venues like U.S. Bank Stadium and the Minnesota State Fair that use metal detectors don’t operate nearly as many days a year as they do.

“The reality is, that’s just not a good fit for our facility,” Bernhjelm said.

Within the past year, there have been multiple gun-related incidents at Mall of America including a shooting that left a 19-year-old dead.

On Friday, Mall security said they’re adding body cameras to their officers in the next month or two. 

“All of our officers are going to be outfitted with body cameras now, just add to that extra layer that we already have in place,” Bernhjelm said. “We’re an iconic tourist destination, with the amount of traffic that we have it’s absolutely important that we have the level of security that we have.”

Mall security says they’re also potentially looking at facial recognition technology. They have also tested out gunshot detection systems like Shotspotter.