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Mall of America, the United States’ largest shopping space, opened its doors to the media to provide a glimpse into the facility’s new security features and future implementations, including K-9 units, body cameras, and possibly even facial recognition technology.
Will Bernhjelm, the VP of Security at Mall of America, emphasized that their guests’ safety starts before they enter the building.
Bernhjelm acknowledged ideas around installing metal detectors, but he noted that Mall of America operates nearly every day of the year and it wouldn’t be a good fit, as traffic in and out is too heavy. Other venues that use metal detectors, such as US Bank Stadium and the Minnesota State Fair, don’t operate as often as Mall of America.
There have been multiple gun-related incidents at Mall of America in the past, including a shooting that left a 19-year-old dead.
The mall decided in response to provide all of its officers with body cameras in the coming months. “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.”
Bernhjelm emphasized that with the mall being an iconic tourist destination, it’s vital to have a high level of security to handle the amount of traffic they receive.
Aside from the K-9 unit and body cameras, Mall of America is also considering using facial recognition technology. They have already tested gunshot detection systems such as Shotspotter.
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