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Experts Discuss Mall Security

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- John Berge knows security.

I was in the security business for 65 years, he says

As the owner of Two Star Detective Agency before he retired, that experience ranged from shopping malls, to local bars, to Hawkeye games.

Every football game, we have 125 to 150 people out there working traffic every Saturday, Berge recalls.

Even though hes out of the business now, he's kept up with recent security headlines. That includes the most recent - and polarizing last months fight at Lindale mall, which recently went viral.

Berge says when it comes to brawls like this, it's tricky. However, the directive in this case would be to stand down.

I would tell my people 'You're one, only oneYou're no good if you get in there and get involved.

Berge says security guards are un-armed, so their best weapon is actually their phone.

Call for help, you can't do a thing, Berge says. Because if they get you down, you're out of it all together.

Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman echoed that in an interview Wednesday.

They are not trained or equipped to handle an incident of that magnitude, Jerman said. They are instructed that when they observe criminal activity, they call us and we respond and take care of it.

It's still unclear whether guards were present at the fight, or if they called police.

Berge says security guards are meant to be a deterrent, not enforcers. If a guard chooses to step in, not only can they be attacked, but they could also face assault charges if they use force - even as much as laying a hand on a suspect.

That's the biggest problem you have as a security officer, Berge said. Youre not licensed as a police officer.

Chief Jerman has already gone on record saying that he is comfortable with the current security setup at Lindale. Even so, CRPD is adding extra foot patrols to help bolster security.
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