The New Jersey Food Council addressed the most pressing security issues in the food distribution and retail industry at the 2021 Northeast Regional Loss Prevention Conference and Expo on Nov. 3.
Linda Doherty, president and CEO of NJFC, said the event tackled all aspects of loss prevention, ensuring members have the latest information to protect their associates and members of the community with the latest de-escalation tactics as well as information pertaining to organized retail crime. In addition, awards were presented to organizations and individuals committed to loss prevention.
“We have seen a drastic uptick in aggressive actions in retail stores that members need to incorporate de-escalation tactics, utilize the most current security resources, and maintain their partnership with law enforcement to prevent these situations,” she said. “This conference is always a must-attend event for our members, equipping them with the best strategies moving forward.”
Attendees heard multi-pronged approaches to tackling organized retail crime, trade based money laundering and illicit tobacco trends, and de-escalation tactics in the age of the pandemic. “This is a critical time to share insight and collaborate with law enforcement in order to minimize negative impacts to retailers and protect our customers,” Doherty said.
There was a panel on de-escalation tactics, from a retailer and law enforcement point of view. Moderated by Kristina Andrew, senior loss Prevention Advisor, Wawa, the panel featured:
- Heather Hearn, Senior Security Advisor for Wawa, who manages physical security and develops Wawa’s policies and training programs related to security.
- Sayreville Police Chief John Zebrowski, a 32-year veteran who is also a practicing attorney, certified public manager, and president of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police.
Doherty said awards were presented to professionals who continually design and implement new strategies to combat loss prevention.
Kristina Andrew, of Wawa, received the 2021 NJFC Loss Prevention Professional Award. “Krissy has advanced the mission of loss prevention, offering significant contributions to protect and promote retail security issues as a member of our Loss Prevention Committee,” said Derrick Price of Wakefern and the NJFC chair of the Loss Prevention Committee. “She has tirelessly worked for the best interest of retail security throughout this region and volunteered her time and talent when it counted to make this conference a success as Conference Chair. Krissy is a dedicated loss prevention professional, whose hard work is well regarded and appreciated by her colleagues,” Price added.
There were also awards given for Retail Law Enforcement Achievement. Awardees included:
Mitchell Sklar, executive director, NJ State Association of Chiefs of Police was awarded a 2021 Retail Law Enforcement Award.
“The Food Council has worked extensively with Mitch on numerous emergency management projects and collaborated on law enforcement and retail programs,” Doherty said. “Mitch is always willing to provide insight, advice and guidance on complicated law enforcement issues that impact our retail members, and this collaboration has made us a stronger partner for our Loss Prevention program.”
Additionally, Joseph Eden, Detective, Gloucester Township Police Department and Eric Hernando, Detective, Holmdel Township Police Department were also awarded 2021 Retail Law Enforcement Awards.
“These honorees provide tremendous service to the loss prevention industry with collective work that serves as a blueprint for effective public-private partnerships, as well as the building of relationships with the retail community to work towards common goals and public safety,” said Hobert.
Attendees also heard from Lisa LaBruno, Senior EVP of retail operations and innovation at the Retail Industry Leaders Association. She addressed the explosion of the online marketplace and its toll on organized retail crime which requires retailers and law enforcement stakeholders to take a multi-pronged approach. She was interviewed on stage by John Holub, president of the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association.
Trade-based money laundering and illicit tobacco trends were the focus of Ben Howard, a former FBI JTTF task force officer who helped Fortune 50 companies with Anti-Money Laundering programs and is a federally admitted expert witness in State regulatory controls as it relates to enforcement and audit.
In other news, The Shelby Report spoke to the NJFC on the state’s single-use plastic and paper bags ban in retail food stores. Click here to see the story.