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More requests for armed protection at "soft targets" after Walma - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

More requests for armed protection at "soft targets" after Walmart shooting

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For many, grocery stores and big box stores are the last place you would expect to be under attack by an active shooter.

That was proven wrong this week at a Walmart in Thornton.

These locations are what law enforcement call soft targets, meaning there is little to no security protection at the doors.

News 5 found one King Soopers that has an armed guard patrolling the parking lot and front door. Around the Front Range and Colorado Springs, there are dozens of stores that hire private security firms to protect customers. 

“At King Soopers we work hard to provide a safe shopping and working environment every day,” said a King Soopers spokesperson. “It’s unfortunate that this even has to be a topic of conversation, however we want to ensure that we are as prepared as possible.”

A Safeway spokesperson told News 5, all managers are trained in active shooter situations and that they feel comfortable with the policies in place.

We’re told about a quarter of the stores along the Front Range and Colorado Springs have armed guards that rotate around to different stores.

A Walmart spokesperson told News 5, “Additional security for this store and others is under review. As it is still an open investigation, I am not able to add much more at this time.”

The spokesperson went on to add, “We are relieved that an arrest has been made in this case. The local authorities have done an outstanding job. This has been a tragic situation. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families who lost loved ones and on supporting our associates. We will continue assisting law enforcement however we can.”

Some shoppers News 5 found believe if there is more armed presence at these shops, they should be undercover.

“I think a lot of people would like to keep their heads down and look at their phones and put their blinders on and hope that someone else is going to take care of it and I don't think we can do that,” said Michael DeGrot. “I think if you are going to have armed personnel, maybe a rental type cop in the front, but if you're going to have armed people, they need to be people that are inconspicuous."

The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office has an extra duty program that provides off duty, uniformed deputies to guard requested events.

The organization requesting the coverage pays the sheriff’s office for the coverage, which then pays the off-duty deputy for the work.

"This year alone and we're not even through the end of the year, we've had about 386 requests that we do not have enough deputies to fill,” said Jacqueline Kirby, Spokesperson for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.

Concealed carry permit applications typically spike after active shooter situations Kirby said.

El Paso County has more active permits than any other county in the state with more than 45,000 Kirby said.

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