If you’ve recently shopped at Fred Meyer in Lacey, you’ve probably noticed a Lacey police officer either checking the store, talking with an employee or chatting with a customer.
That’s because Fred Meyer, a division of Cincinnati-based Kroger Co., has requested the extra security, said Lacey Finance Director Troy Woo Thursday night, as he explained a $360,000 revenue source for the city next year to City Council.
The company will pay that amount to continue having Lacey police officers work overtime at the store. They began about two months ago, said Lacey Police Chief Dusty Pierpoint.
The officers work up to 16 hours a day, seven days a week, providing security to address shoplifting, loitering and car prowls, Pierpoint said.
Deterring shoplifters has been a challenge because the store, in some ways, is unique: It doesn’t have two entrances, it has three, he said.
There’s an entrance for the grocery store, another for clothes and one more near housewares and hardware.
The plastic bag ban has also created a headache for store employees. Some people pay for the paper bag, some use a reusable bag and some people just carry their store-bought items in their hands. For employees, they’re not always sure if that customer is headed to checkout or simply headed for the door, he said.
Pierpoint had a message for shoplifters: Depending on the situation, Lacey police can make arrests and book offenders into jail.
He said Fred Meyer has a similar arrangement with law enforcement in Pierce County that has been successful.
This also isn’t a first for Lacey police to work closely with a retailer, Pierpoint said. They have been hired in the past to provide crowd control during “Black Friday,” the busy day of shopping that follows Thanksgiving.