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TV’s Mall of America Cops Rely on IP Video

A few years ago The Discovery Channel aired a reality series called, "It Takes a Thief." The show was really cool because it brought security concepts and solutions into America's living rooms, and did so in an entertaining way. The premise had a former burglar breaking into and ransacking a house while the homeowner watched on TV monitors with the show's host.



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A few years ago The Discovery Channel aired a reality series called, “It Takes a Thief.” The show was really cool because it brought security concepts and solutions into America’s living rooms, and did so in an entertaining way. The premise had a former burglar breaking into and ransacking a house while the homeowner watched on TV monitors with the show’s host. For participating, the homeowner would then receive a free security “makeover.” SSI was so enamored with the program that I wrote a cover story on it and teamed with the stars of the show for a keynote at ISC East followed by a meet-and-greet and autograph-signing session for attendees at our exhibit booth. This enterprise really shook up the industry and drew notoriety.

I bring all this up because The Learning Channel, which is part of the Discovery network, is launching a new security-themed reality show this spring (pilot aired this past October) called, “Mall Cops: Mall of America.” Although it is not as directly aimed at electronic security as “It Takes a Thief,” Mall of America’s (MOA) huge staff of security officers do rely on our industry’s tools to help accomplish their mission of keeping the landmark shopping destination safe. MOA’s recent conversion of 300 analog cameras into an IP-based solution landed it on SSI‘s February issue cover with my extensive case study featured inside.

More than 40 million people visit Minnesota’s Mall of America each year.

The article includes a sidebar about the “Mall Cops” TV show, for which I interviewed its co-executive producer, Eric Streit. He shared with me additional details about the show’s special location, what’s involved in the production and MOA’s impressive security force. So here is the rest of that exclusive interview along with several bonus photos.

What inspired this show? Was it the success of the recent Kevin James movie where he plays a mall cop?

Eric Streit: I think, certainly, the success of the film may have played into the title of our series, but the series we’re making is a documentary series about the daily lives of the secured cops. Basically, what our show is that we’re looking at the Mall of America through the eyes of security officers. So, everything they do in their day-to-day life, we’re a part of. Whether it’s lifesaving medical emergencies, whether it’s lost children, shoplifting, disorderly conduct, what we’re doing here at Mall of America is just kind of a fly-on-the-wall observation of the security officers in a professional environment and just watching them do the work that they do. It’s really very fascinating. I don’t think people realize that the Mall of America has better training for their security force than most midsize city police forces. They have a K-9 unit. It’s amazing the training that goes on here. So many of the officers are veterans of the U.S. military, which I think will come as a surprise to a lot of people. There is a certain stereotype when you think security officers for the mall, and these guys don’t fit that at all. I think one of the great things this show is going to do is break that stereotype, turn it on its head and show these guys the professionals that they are.

MOA includes 520 storefronts and a 7-acre amusement park.

Was it always going to be that particular mall? How was that determined?

Streit: When you think of a mall, the first one I think popped into anyone’s mind was the Mall of America. It’s a symbol of malls everywhere; it’s a symbol of America. If you’re going to make a show about a mall, Mall of America is always going to be your first choice. We were fortunate enough to establish a great relationship here. I don’t think we ever considered anything but Mall of America because it’s the iconic mall, not just for the country, but the world.

So does the show focus any closer on certain members, or just whoever?

Streit: Basically, we have not asked the mall to change their operations in any way. We basically show up. We have four crews who are shooting, and whatever officers are on schedule are the officers we’re assigned to follow. Whatever calls


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Blogs · IP Video · ISC East · Under Surveillance · All Topics

About the Author
Scott Goldfine
Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration, directing all editorial aspects of the magazine brand in print, electronically, online and in person. The voluminous, innovative and award-winning body of work he has distinguished himself with since joining the publication in 1998 includes groundbreaking research, landmark features, leadership roundtables, high profile case studies, and many industry exclusives. Well versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is a nationally known figure in demand as an industry presenter and subject matter expert to mainstream media. He is responsible for developing many unique products and programs, including the SSI Industry Hall of Fame, Control Panel (industry’s first E-mail newsletter), Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ), Marketing Marvel, Installers of the Year, Integrated Installation of the Year, Security Industry Census, Systems Integration Study, Installation Business Report, Operations & Opportunities Report, Commercial End-User Study and Security’s Fantastic Fleets. Recognized for his relationship building, integrity and lead-by-example ethic, Goldfine is a solutions-oriented team player who advises and collaborates with industry dealer/integrator, consultant, distributor, central station and manufacturer icons, luminaries and executive business leaders on a daily basis. He is also actively involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), PSA-Tec, SAMMY Awards, International Security Conference and Exhibition (ISC), Electronic Security Technology Summit (ESTS), Mission 500, Electronic Security Expo (ESX), ASIS Int’l, Honeywell CONNECT and other supplier conventions. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee and PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council. A certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast, Goldfine graduated with honors from Cal State, Northridge with a management degree in Radio-Television-Film. His professional media endeavors have encompassed magazines, Internet, radio, TV, film, records, teletext and books. Goldfine resides in the Charlotte, N.C., area with his wife, son and three cats.
Contact Scott Goldfine: sgoldfine@ehpub.com
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