Sartell Walmart Bucks Trend of High Volume Police Calls
SARTELL -- State Representatives in the Twin Cities are calling out Wal-Mart saying the retailer needs to take more responsibility for security within their stores. But here in Sartell it doesn't seem to be an issue.
At a news conference Wednesday in St. Paul, Representative John Lesch from District 66B and Representative Mike Nelson from District 40A spoke in support of the Making Change at Walmart's campaign. According to the campaign's website in 2015 police responded to 1,126 calls to two Minneapolis-area Wal-Marts.
However here in Sartell, Police Chief Jim Hughes says when Wal-Mart first moved to town they did see an increase in calls, which is expected when a large retailer moves in.
"We did see an increase in calls for service when Wal-Mart came in but that's bringing thousands more people to our community from outside that weren't there previously."
Hughes says in 2015 they responded to 191 calls to the County Road 120 address, which includes Wal-Mart and the surrounding area. In 2016, they responded to 232 calls in that same area.
Hughes says calls can include traffic stops, car crashes, shoplifting, assault and other crimes that aren't necessarily involving the retailer. He says the call numbers of 2015 and 2016 are considered relatively low.
Wal-Mart does have a security team in place. Hughes says the team does work closely with Sartell Police to ensure safety.
"What they provide for us is obviously the camera system, if there's any vehicle crashes in the parking lot to be able to determine what happened. We do work with them on cases that we are working on to try to obtain further information and we also know there's a store in St. Cloud as well, we've worked with their staff over there too because a lot of times cases may be related to both stores."
The Sartell Police Department has not received any additional funding and has not hired more staff due to Wal-Mart moving in to town. Hughes says the police resources that are being used at the store are not being abused.
"They have a huge piece of property there, they do pay a lot of taxes within the community and part of those taxes are for police response. At this point we're not being abused, we're being used for what were here for, the community and that's what their taxes pay for."
The Sartell Wal-Mart and Sam's Club opened in September, 2010.