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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Pop Pop Posted - December 01 2017 : 11:00:22 AM
Going to attend a "somewhat long" (6hr) training session with a neighboring church congregation on Saturday. The preacher invited some of our congregation (5) to attend the training session with his congregation. The seminar will start at 8:00 AM with their whole church invited, minus young children 12 and under. Teenagers will be invited to attend. They expect the church part to last 4 hrs and then will spend 2 hours with the safety team team volunteers at their church.

We want to attend to see what transpires and we are thinking our whole church needs the same training and see if it will be profitable for us. Our members are strongly requesting our leadership to include them in on safety plans for our church. Since we had the shooting 25 miles from our building(Antioch TN) they are really concerned for their safety and many want to know what we are doing. I think that is reasonable and have advocated bringing the whole congregation, too train them, for several months now.

The training will be conducted by a Active Police Officer who attends their church. He is a trainer, in his spare time, and goes into churches, businesses, and factories to drill them on personal safety and safety of their employees. He also teaches level 1, 2, and 3 tactical training. Level 1 being 8 hr course to be able to get a concealed carry permit. the other two is more in depth tactical degrees of training.

The trainer has previously had hands on training wit their safety team, on 3 occasions, and plans another 2 hour session with them on Saturday.

I am looking forward to attending with our preacher, one church leader/elder, and a recently (4yr previous) discharged Army Ranger who spent 2 terms in the sand box before leaving military service. He is highly trained and spent many day in and around combat. He is a member of our church and Volunteer Greeter Team.

Hope all goes well and know we are invited guest, and will act accordingly. It is my hope our leadership will allow this man to come and talk to our congregation. We now take many precautions, but I always "stress" "One's own personal safety is his own responsibility, and should not be passed off onto someone else."

Our church leadership is really concerned with bringing increased liability upon our church.

Will report on our training trip tomorrow.
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Pop Pop Posted - December 05 2017 : 5:37:53 PM
Evan, the trainer pretty much said exactly as you stated your commandments were, when they pertained to Active Shooters. He told the people to do whatever it took to win the fight for their lives, because, if they lost, they would most probably wake up dead.

The restraint was discussed in reference to those who were just possible disturbances within the church without visible weapons.
Evan Posted - December 04 2017 : 11:59:15 AM
Should have mentioned that the vast majority of active shooter training I've seen is inadequate. I've personally been involved in such events and trained the SWAT guys in Detroit. Speed, surprise, and violence of action are "commandments" from my point of view.

I told my guys all they needed to remember was hands, weapons, death. If they confront some one who is armed challenge them one time and if they fail to immediately comply, deadly force is authorized. Even our hostage negotiator was not very patient.

When children at are at risk, my evil twin shows up.
Evan Posted - December 04 2017 : 11:36:50 AM
Our children's class rooms have windows and the teachers are instructed to open them and get the children outside that way if they feel the hallways aren't safe.

Look into DSM banners-DSM stands for don't shoot me! I carry one daily. It is carried in a small pouch on your belt and can be quickly unfurled and thrown over one should to display in hi viz letters your ID both front&back, such as-ccw, church security, etc. Mine says LAW ENFORCEMENT in large letters and then has a small "retd" each end to signify retired law enforcement.

We also will not release children from their classes unless a parent comes to pick them up.

AND, of course, pray for God's protection.
Pop Pop Posted - December 04 2017 : 06:36:43 AM
Was told last evening, that we have a domestic situation developing in our congregation. A man has cheated on his wife, 2 times now, she is divorcing him, and according to the women he has recently made threats.

Also was told a congregation's, about 3 miles from us, preacher was robbed at knife point last week. The church has a parsonage very close by the church building with a small alley way between the two buildings. The young preacher was walking across from the residence to the church office, about 9:00 AM, and was approached by a man who, after getting close enough pulled a large knife, and told him to give him money.

December is a bad month around here.
Pop Pop Posted - December 03 2017 : 4:53:49 PM
The Active Shooter training was interesting to me. My wife says I am weird. The preacher Started the conversation addressing the "God will take care of us" folks. Their church has had had several problems with the next door mental halfway house inhabitants disrupting, so their members are really ready to be included in this training session.

It was a usual active shooter training, which most here have already participated in so I won' t elaborate too much. This church is in the process of installing a quality surveillance system, and installing better outside lighting among other improvements. They also have purchased a system of silent pagers to give to members, with instant action buttons to summons help from those who will be given them during services. We need this at our church.

The trainer talked to them about their building, how to manage children, as best as they could because most of the classrooms were just off the auditorium with no windows. In other words they were trapped in their rooms if a shooter enters the auditorium. There were not a lot of good answers there except lock down and barricade which he hated to say. They have installed safety glass in all their outside entrance doors because of previous glass breakage on more than 1 occasion.

Their policy is not to allow suspicious strangers, who come in middle of services, entry to their building. They are sending 2 safety team members outside to interview these people, and having 3 others standing inside watching. They don't open the door until all the team are in place.

He talked to the members about fighting with improvised weapons and strong arm resistance, rather than just sitting in place and be murdered. He suggested hiding in the building was not a good idea that evacuation was much better if possible.

He discussed the Texas shooting and said there were 54 people in that church. One was killed in the parking lot, 26 killed in the building, and 24 wounded. Three people got out unharmed. Did you realize those numbers. The neighbor who intervened, said his daughter alerted him about the shooting and he looked at the clock because he thought church would be over. It lasted, in the church no more than 4 minutes until he confronted the shooter in the parking lot. The shooter almost shot everyone in that building, and if the trainer is correct, in less than 5 minutes.

The subject of the 15 men in the church came up who carry guns. He discussed the legal aspect of using deadly force. The trainer went into the dangers of shooting in a crowded room and the dangers of collateral damage and the ensuing liability from each bullet that leaves the barrel of one's gun. Said all needed more training in that area. Went on to say shooting is an absolute last resort.

One person asked did an Active Shooter in a church, meet the laws definition of being in fear of life or grave bodily harm. His answer was yes, everyone in that building was the shooters intended target, although he added a disclaimer, he was not an attorney, only a Police officer. Then he told them that there is no "absolutes" in civil, state or federal laws when use of deadly force was concerned. Told them to look at the Zimmerman case.

He talked to them about letting the Police do their job, after they arrive, and to not make fast movements or have weapons in their hands, and go toward the responding officers. Said if they wanted to leave the area to walk in the direction of the responding officers, with their hands in plain view, not in a threatening manner, because the area behind the officers would most probably safer, if possible.

That church is being proactive given the situation they find themselves in today. It is a country church, about 4 miles from the center of a small town. The Officer told them that there were 3 Sheriff deputies on duty at any one time, and they would be spread all over the county. Said if a active shooter call came in most likely the City would respond with as many officers of their 7 on duty that could, but they were at least 5 miles away, and maybe 1 or 2 state troopers if they were close enough. That would be their thin blue line I their situation.

Guys one can see that this church is hoping for the best, but prepping for the worst. I think most churches are doing much the same now days. I applaud their willingness.
Pop Pop Posted - December 03 2017 : 07:59:37 AM
We have dealt with several incidents at our church. First was the night we formed the team. 3 drunks, running from Police, came busting through the doors, in middle of the evening worship, sit down on 3 row from back. Ladies began getting up and coming to me, in the back, and reported they smelled alcohol. After about 5 min one of them took offense to what the preacher was saying and became disruptive. We had rehearse what to do if trouble happened. 5 men came to the back of the auditorium in response. We stayed close to them until they left. The driver went into the parking lot and removed his license tag so we could not get the number, then left. Scared the whole congregation. We should have called 911 because allowing them to leave put others in danger. Life is a learning experience.

Second thing was we caught a neighborhood teenager, after Bible class started, entered the unlocked building and rifling through coat left hanging in the hallway clothing rack.

Third incident was a car broken into in the parking lot and stuff removed.

Fourth was a threat of domestic violence we had to prepare for, which never materialized.

Fifth was, after we started locking the doors, a teenager allowed entrance to a hoodie man, with the hood up on a 95 Degree day, into the church to which he entered the worship service, in the middle of services, and disrupted the service. This one was a mentally disturbed man, dirty, not interested in the proceedings, and brought great fear upon all who was in eye sight of him. I mean he was the kind of guy that just looking at him made you hair stand on the back of you neck. He was a church panhandler and wanted money. After this incident I started wanting the leadership to have a meeting with the whole congregation. IMO, we need to inform them and train them not to allow people into our building. This incident could have gone bad in a hurry.

Our guys had to deal with this after it got into the auditorium, which s where we do not want to do that. He should have been stopped at the door and handled outside. Also I am pushing for a early warning system, to alert 4 or 5 members, that someone needs help. I am also pushing for a camera system to e installed and monitored during services. I want it to be full looping, continues recording, motion activated, and inferred cameras installed in multiple locations including outside parking lot included.

We have had about 3 other incidents, but I wont elaborate further. Handling church disturbance is the most of our duty, but you all know other things can happened and team members must be trained to deal with them until Police arrive.

Yes, we have made progress, in our congregation, but IMO we need more and better training than I can give them, however I will do my best if they don't want to spend money, which we don't have a lot of. We also need some equipment to be able to respond sooner and better communication.

I just attended a training session, yesterday, with an neighboring church. It was on active shooters training session. I will write about it this afternoon. It covered a lot of what was happening in our congregation. They have a mental halfway house next door and are dealing, almost weekly, with mental cases entering their building. The Police officer/trainer has responded to that house many times recently. I had one of my church leaders with me, and he seen how they did it. I think we now will have some sort of training for the whole congregation, which IMO is about time.

In this day-in-time it is time to face reality and plan for these things. They days of safety in churches are no more, and first responders, who must deal with these incidents, are sitting within the church. IMO, church leadership needs to get their heads out of the sand and face reality.

I think that taking the elder with me yesterday advanced my pushing in that direction. Training and awareness are important, even for snowflakes. The sheepdogs in the congregation(and we have several)needs to be trained to lead them. I know my weaknesses and am encouraging them to seek professional training in this area, but if I need too I will do it myself.

It is that own salvation thing Jim H always talks about.
jle3030 Posted - December 02 2017 : 9:31:43 PM
The incidents may not seem large, but without your organized security procedures, who can say how they might have played out.

Dave in PA Posted - December 02 2017 : 12:57:35 PM

Some of our successes have been minor, such as seeing a domestic starting in the parking lot, suspicious people parked and remaining in the lot and folks placing flyers on car windshields. We have had some trouble with divorced parents and child custody issues and our greeters and parking lot people have noticed these potential problems early so we can intervene and avert greater trouble. We occasionally get a heads up from other local churches when they have problem guests that are disruptive. In that case we make sure everyone gets a picture of the attendee so that they can be monitored if they show up. One of the monitors noticed a potential fight brewing between two teenage girls and that also was nipped in the bud before it escalated. As I said, not really anything notable, but minor incidents that were stopped before they escalated.

Our church has a stated goal of connecting those unconnected to Jesus Christ. Because of that, we welcome anyone and everyone. If a person comes in under the influence, they are welcomed and a volunteer will sit near them to make sure they are not disruptive. If a pedophile attends, they must agree to very strict guidelines (attend counselling, always be with a chaperone and never enter any part of the church that houses children's classes). Former or struggling drunks, addicts, criminals and those who are the "least of these" are welcomed wholeheartedly.

We are far from perfect but we truly strive to let everyone get to know Jesus.

jle3030 Posted - December 02 2017 : 12:01:43 PM
Originally posted by Dave in PA

Pop Pop, I agree that it does sound as if your church is headed in the right direction.

About 1-2 years ago we added volunteer "monitors" whose sole job is to report anything suspicious to the security volunteers. We all have radios with ear mics and can respond pretty quickly. The "monitors" job is to merely report, not take any action. It has worked very well so far and it gets more of the congregation involved. Many of the "monitors" are older or those without training or experience that still want to help.

We've also provided some training for the other volunteers (traffic and parking team, greeters and other volunteers) to alert us to anything that might be a problem. All of this effectively added more layers of security and at zero cost.

Good luck!

It sounds as if your church's approach has yielded some positive results. What sort of incidents have you had and how were they resolved?

LittleBill Posted - December 02 2017 : 09:12:24 AM
Yep... raising awareness is the first step. Then formulating a plan...

Sounds like things are moving in the right direction.

Dave in PA Posted - December 02 2017 : 09:08:55 AM
Pop Pop, I agree that it does sound as if your church is headed in the right direction.

About 1-2 years ago we added volunteer "monitors" whose sole job is to report anything suspicious to the security volunteers. We all have radios with ear mics and can respond pretty quickly. The "monitors" job is to merely report, not take any action. It has worked very well so far and it gets more of the congregation involved. Many of the "monitors" are older or those without training or experience that still want to help.

We've also provided some training for the other volunteers (traffic and parking team, greeters and other volunteers) to alert us to anything that might be a problem. All of this effectively added more layers of security and at zero cost.

Good luck!
jle3030 Posted - December 01 2017 : 5:30:50 PM
It seems your congregation's collective mindset has evolved favorably since your series of posts a few months back. Congratulations!

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