Augusta Mall management says security officers doing their jobs

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December 8, 2006

Some shoppers at Augusta Mall say security there is harassing, even heavy-handed.

But mall management says security officers are just doing their jobs.

Today, News 12's Domonique Benn sat down with Augusta Mall management to get some answers.

A code of conduct is posted at every entrance to the mall. Linda Harden, the mall's general manager, says it's a shopper's responsibility to read the black and white and understand it.

"The reason for the code of conduct is, we have expectations of how we expect our guests to behave," she said.

In recent weeks, some shoppers have accused mall security of harassing them.

Sherille Buoy was banned for three months for disorderly conduct. She claims she didn't break any rules--she only asked questions.

"It seemed like they were picking on us," she said.

And Scott Seibert, a father of three, was banned from the mall for using his cell phone in the wrong place and for failing to move to another location when security asked him to move.

"It's petty things they go after," he told News 12. "I wasn't breaking the law, I wasn't stealing. I was there with my family on my cell phone."

But management says these things are not petty, and security will stick to the mall's zero-tolerance policy.

"We don't feel like they are aggressive," Harden said. "We feel like they are doing their jobs."

Management says their number one goal is to make it a pleasant shopping experience for everyone, which means ensuring that patrons don't block entrances to stores, don't travel in large groups that can block access to stores, and don't lean on the railings.

"We've had customers have beverages fall over rails and drop on customers and carts below, and to avoid a mishap or maintain safety we ask people not to do that," Harden said.

Management says Augusta Mall will not deny access to anyone...unless they break a rule.

"If you violate the code of conduct, we will approach you, ask you to stop what you are doing, and if you don't, you can be arrested for criminal trespass," Harden said.

Augusta Mall just installed a new camera system which is just about a year old. They're using it to help monitor activity in the mall and its parking lots.

Click here to read Augusta Mall's code of conduct.