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Time delay safes introduced at all Tennessee CVS pharmacies to help prevent robberies

Posted at 4:52 PM, Apr 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-04 20:59:58-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — To help prevent the problem of pharmacy robberies and improve employee safety, CVS Pharmacy introduced time delay safes in all of its 169 Tennessee locations.

Opiates like hydrocodone and oyxcodone are stores in the safe meant to take longer to access.

"It requires a pharmacist to enter a code, and there's an extended period of time before that safe is allowed or can be opened by the pharmacist," Rob Hyrmer, Regional Asset Protection Manager, CVS Pharmacy, told NewsChannel 5. "It hopes to deter some of the robbers that come in our location to scout to see if they can rob us."

The time delay function cannot be overridden and is designed to act as a warning, while trying to protect employees and customers.

There are signs throughout the store that indicate that it has time delay safes.

"Obviously we'd rather prevent than catch someone afterwards. The hope is that one, they will see the warning signs and if not, if they're told that there will be a time delay that they'll choose to leave and not continue on with the robbery," Metro Nashville Police Department Deputy Chief Todd Henry said.

There were 16 pharmacy robberies in Davidson County in 2017. The number was 11 last year.

CVS Pharmacy first began using time delay safes in 2015 in Indianapolis, and reports a 70 percent decline in pharmacy robberies in a year.

"This is a great step to harden the supply chain and prevent criminals from coming in, stealing opiates and getting them into the black market," Senator Steve Dickerson, R-Nashville, said in the press conference on Thursday.

CVS Health has also installed 19 safe medication disposal units at the stores in Tennessee, plus donating some to law enforcement agencies.

Nationwide, it collected more than 719,000 pounds of unwanted medication, including more than 5,700 pounds in Tennessee.