It continues to be debated within the industry: armed or unarmed security officer.

Previous industry research contends that less than 6 percent of contracted officers are armed on duty. Still, a significantly higher number of contracted officers are certified to carry a weapon, mostly because an end user firm wants a higher level of training, as compared to unarmed licensing, that carrying a weapon in many states demands.

A recent incident in Laurel, Md., started when a supermarket shoplifter stole a security officer gun and fired shots after an altercation between the two at a Laurel grocery store. The security officer attempted to apprehend the man suspected of shoplifting at the Weis Market. The suspect overcame the officer stealing his weapon in the process. The suspect fired off four rounds before leaving the supermarket.

According to supermarket management: Sometime after 8 p.m. Sunday night, Dec. 8, an active duty police officer who works for Fallsway Security, a company we contract with to provide in-store security service, was involved in an altercation with a suspected shoplifter. During the altercation, the suspect gained control of the officer weapon and fired four shots before fleeing the store. There were no injuries. At the time, less than ten people were in the store. We are fortunate and relieved that there were no injuries to any of our customers or associates, and note this type of instore incident has never happened in one of our stores. We are currently working with local law enforcement to help this investigation progress. We will provide every detail required to local law enforcement who will handle all further media questions.