5 Things Every Church Should Do To Improve Security

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Tennessee church shooting leaves one dead, several wounded, officials say. That was the headline on Sunday, September 24, 2017. According to police the masked gunman shot and killed one female in the parking lot and then entered the sanctuary where he began shooting people indiscriminately. One Church member, a 22 year old usher, was able to respond by physically confronting the gunman, during which, the gunman received a self-inflicted gunshot to his chest. That member then went to his car in the parking lot, retrieved his own weapon, and headed back into the church where he held the suspect at gunpoint until police arrived. Clearly things could and would have been much worse if not for the heroic and selfless action of that young man.

At this point we don't know what motivated the gunman to carry out this heinous attack. However, does the “why” really matter? The answer is no. We could spend days and days trying to figure out why these happen and trying to predict when and where another one may occur, only to come up short. We all have to go beyond asking ourselves why and adjust to the reality that these types of mass casualty incidents are on the rise and we have to accept the fact that we must do something to prepare for them. 

HERE ARE FIVE THINGS THAT EVERY CHURCH SHOULD DO TO IMPROVE THEIR SECURITY. 

1) Form a security team. Hopefully your church already has some sort of security team but if not, now is the time more than ever. More than likely these crazed gunmen are not going to target the large mega church that has three uniformed police officers sitting outside. They likely select their targets based on their ability to carry out as much carnage as possible. Having an obvious and visible security presence is critical.

2) Get a threat assessment and security evaluation done for your particular facility. Every church building and property is different and will have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to achieving physical security. Hiring a professional to evaluate your facility can make all the difference when it comes to critical incidents.

3) Develop plans and protocols. Your team needs specific plans and protocols in place to be truly effective. Every man for himself is not a plan. What are the preventative measures and protocols going to be and who is responsible for them? What are the teams’ specific roles should an intruder enter the building? These are all things that need to be nailed down in advance.

4) Conduct training. Training and repetition is what makes soldiers and police officers so effective at their respective jobs. They face situations daily where they must take decisive action immediately upon encountering a threat when there is no time to stop and think. They do this by relying on their training so that when the time comes they don’t simply react, they respond.  

5) Be vigilant and consistent. Do not take for granted that another member of your team has already checked the south parking lot, or has secured a particular door, etc. Do not get complacent about your plans and protocols. Consistency can save lives, complacency kills.  

If you want to learn more about strengthening the security presence at your church or business, go to  our website or give us a call at 615-236-6484. We are passionate about helping organizations achieve real security in this dangerously developing world.

Can Workplace Violence Incidents Be Prevented?

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Can workplace violence incidents be prevented? The short answer is no but there are several ways the number of incidents can be reduced and/or the casualties mitigated greatly. 

We all remember in April of this year when that lunatic estranged husband of San Bernardino teacher Karen Elaine Smith walked into her special education classroom and executed her in front of her students. He also struck two children, killing one, before taking his own life. There are no words to describe the tragic loss of life of that 8 year old boy, Jonathan Martinez, or the trauma the children in that classroom have suffered. The emotional scars will last forever for the family of Jonathan Martinez as well as the children that survived.

So we must ask ourselves, as we do after every tragic incident, how could this have happened? How did the systems and protocols in place at the time so greatly fail Karen and those children? 

A spokesperson for the school said that it was common for family members to visit their spouses and that the staff recognized him as Karen Smith's husband. They further noted that he followed protocol by signing in at the office and said he did not appear agitated or upset. So where was the break down? It is unclear what type of specific training the school faculty had received at the time but it was potentially preventable by one simple act.

Had Karen simply told a co-worker or an administrator what was going on behind the scenes with her soon to be ex-husband then I venture to say there could have been a very different outcome. Had she told them about the specific threat he made about shooting her and her students, the school certainly would have had protocols in place to prevent his access to that school. 

But two things prevented her from doing just that. 

  1. The first is she didn't take him seriously enough at HIS WORD.

  2. The second is that she was either too embarrassed about what was happening in her personal life that she didn't want to share that with others, especially at her place of work, or she did not want to “bother” others with her problems.

Folks, the time for taking people at their word, especially threatening statements, is long past us. How often do we hear the common phrase, "I didn't think he would actually do it" or "I didn't think he was serious”?  The answer is often enough that innocent lives are being ripped away because people fail to say something or take action. 

Furthermore, we are often so concerned with what other people will think of us that we let it control our actions or in most cases inaction. It is often the case that others problems eventually become your problem whether you want them to or not. There is a simple phrase used by law enforcement and military instructors that “complacency kills.”  I’m here to tell you, inaction also kills.

We want you to feel empowered and ready if the worst happens. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you protect your school or business in an active shooter situation. Or click here to learn more about our services.