Changes are in the works when it comes to how Kroger stores handle their security.
The grocery chain has confirmed with 10TV that it is in the process of transitioning to unarmed security guards across the company.
Kroger says that armed guards will remain in some locations but not in any of its Columbus area stores.
10TV obtained a letter that U.S. Protection Service, the company that provides security guards to Kroger, sent to its employees.
The security company says in the letter that effective March 29, its guards will be “completely unarmed--no weapons, no handcuffs, no chemical repellant, no baton, etc."
U.S. Protection Service adds in the letter that "this is very disheartening to us."
Kroger customers that 10TV spoke with say they are going to reconsider their shopping habits with the security guards being unarmed.
"I would come during the day when people could see me. No more at night time," said Columbus resident Lakashia Shavers. "You need arms because who's to say? I mean, the security guard might get killed."
Another shopper, Dennis Jacocks, said he will consider shopping at another Kroger that he thinks is in a safer area than the Kroger at E. Main St. and Alum Creek Blvd. where he normally shops.
"You can believe that the criminals got guns so I would feel better in a more upscale neighborhood,” Jacocks said.
Kroger has responded with the following statement:
“The safety and security of our associates and customers is our top priority. We provide every store with security based on rigorous security assessments we conduct regularly for each individual location. We utilize a variety of security measures, including undercover personnel as well as uniformed security officers, plus cutting edge technologies. For obvious reasons, our policy is not to disclose specific details about our security efforts, either company-wide or at the individual store level.”
Kroger has also said that this is not a cost-saving measure as they will continue to pay for guards to be in the stores.
10TV tried to find out how other grocery chains in central Ohio deploy security personnel within their stores.
Giant Eagle offered the following statement:
“Giant Eagle utilizes the services of uniformed, off duty police personnel at its central Ohio locations to ensure that customers have a safe and pleasant shopping experience. As is common practice, these uniformed officers are armed.”
Meijer says it does not publicly discuss its security procedures.
Target issued the following statement:
"Our assets protection team members are trained for numerous emergency situations, including working with law enforcement, as part of their response protocol. Their role is to maintain a safe shopping environment, protect against theft and monitor suspicious activity; however, they are not there to replace the role of law enforcement."
Wal-Mart has not yet responded at the time this story was posted