Shoppes at Bel Air introduces a new, four-legged security team member

Mobile County

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – The Shoppes at Bel Air’s newest team member officially started his first day Thursday. 

Kosmo is a 3-year-old Dutch Shepherd, who officially started patrolling the mall with his K9 officer and handler, Justin Kestler. The mall says he’ll be a tremendous asset and will enhance the shopping experience.

“He’s really friendly,” said Jeremiah Williams, who stopped to meet Kosmo. 

Kosmo was greeted with lots of treats and attention as he made his first rounds around the mall. 

“He’s a really great dog and he’s really big and well, he’s a really good K9,” said Williams.

“We’re looking to assist customers wherever they’re needed. Anybody needs help finding a location in the mall, or any assistance in the parking lot, as far as broken down vehicles, we’re here to help,” said Kestler.

Kosmo patrols alongside Kestler throughout the mall, morning, day and night.

“He’s got a great personality. And like I said, he loves being around people,” said Kestler. 

A little more than 6 months ago, the mall decided to invest in Kosmo, to help with safety for consumers and employees. The decision is one that Mobile Police Chief Lawrence Battiste stands behind.

“It helps us with some of our resources. We’re in a time of year, the holiday season, people look for opportunities to prey on people,” said Battiste. 

Last Thanksgiving, shots were fired in the parking lot of the mall. This July, shots rang out inside. 

“We want people to be safe and we want them to know that our law enforcement community is going to do everything that we can do possible to make sure that they are safe,” said Battiste. 

Kestler says he and Kosmo will mostly be back-up for the mall’s security team.

“He’s highly trained, visual deterrent is what we’re looking for, as far as that goes,” said Kestler.

Chief Battiste tells News 5, city-wide crime is down heading in to the holiday shopping season. He added that they will be increasing patrols all throughout the busy shopping corridor around the Shoppes at Bel Air.

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