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maroonandwhite

Church Security

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I wasn’t sure where to put this so General Chat it is.

My church has approached me about being the head/lead of our security committee/team and I am hoping to get ideas and suggestions from you fine folks on how we could improve.  I’ll give a brief rundown of what we have in place.

We have 200 members on average attendance.  As with most churches there are entrances / exits all over the building that we now keep locked through services.  We have several cameras covering most of the campus with a central monitor in the church office with one person monitoring that throughout services.  At minimum we have one person roaming the campus; sometimes two.  Two entrances to the campus from the highway that are uphill and easily viewable.  Any other threat would have to come from the surrounding woods.

I know at least a few of the older gentleman carry or talk about carrying a firearm.  Most likely a J-Frame in the pocket if anything.  We do have a few whom aren’t on the team carrying IWB semi-autos.  I don’t know of anyone in the church other than myself and two other guys whom have had any formal firearms training outside of military experience.

With that said I don’t think our focus on security should be on who has a gun and knows how to use it but that it does need to be addressed very seriously.  I’d welcome suggestions on how this has been implemented in your church.  I’ve been a part of a few “range days” within a church that seemed to be very helpful and informative when it comes to decision making under adrenaline.

I’ll open the floor for any suggestions to the approach as a whole.  Any good books to read, articles to read, etc.  Thanks!

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I would start out by listening to the episode of the Shooters Nation podcast where @TGO David interviews the head security gentleman at his Church.  There is a lot of good info in that episode.

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6 minutes ago, KahrMan said:

I would start out by listening to the episode of the Shooters Nation podcast where @TGO David interviews the head security gentleman at his Church.  There is a lot of good info in that episode.

Downloading it now. Thanks!

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As a whole….I think to be realistic it requires more than a passing commitment by those involved. Many facets would be involved. The thing I see lacking is most church security info is live fire training. A bunch of old guys with pistols in their pockets is not (IMO) “better than nothing”; it is worse.

You need to try (as best you can) to set-up working as a team. That involves mock scenarios and what each person should do.

I think there are trained professionals that offer their services free, or at a low cost to churches. I’d have a conversation with the local Police Chief or Sheriff about training; you might be surprised what they are willing to offer.

Legal training is also required. You must all understand the use of deadly force laws in this state. As a former cop my recommendation for this is always the local DA. Their interpretation of the law is the only one that matters, as far as someone being charged with a crime. Civil liability is also a big deal, not only for the church, but for all of you collectively, and individually. A good local attorney that handles those type of cases would be where I would start. We live in litigious times, so that will be open ended about what could happen.

It’s good that you are doing this for your church and your community.

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I have been told the many of crimes committed in church are pre-cased or at least premeditated. Thus the biggest deterrent is for security team members to approach visitors and those that seem even the slightest bit out of place with a warm welcome...."Hi, are you new here, can I help you, where are you from....." just a small innocent conversation frequently deters someone with criminal intentions, because they do not want to be noticed, and especially they do not want to be remembered. It is also great to network with other church security teams and learn from each other.  And all advice thus far given by others is valid.

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DaveTn depends on the old guys. You're painting with a pretty wide brush. Some of us old guys have been in places and seen things that were not very nice.

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20 hours ago, maroonandwhite said:

Downloading it now. Thanks!

Let me know what you think.  William, the retired SEAL who runs our safety program, is one of the sharpest guys I know on this subject.  The safety protocols at our church are no joke.  It's the first time that I've been able to go to church in a decade or two and feel like the folks charged with being vigilant and protecting the congregation have it under control and I can relax enough to focus on WHY I am at church.

 

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In our church, our Safety  Team has been in place for 8 years. We have our hands tied as far as armed security. Our city regs say we can only have off duty Policemen for armed security. That also the church must provide a 1 million dollar bond and 1 million dollar liability policy for the armed guards.  As a church of 220 we can't afford the coast. The last time we checked the officers were 100.00 per hour with a minimum of hours per day.  

Our Safety Team has had to mostly handle disturbances within our congregation. I will say we do lock all outside entrances, from the outside, and that can even not work. Our last disturbance, a teen allowed a mentally disturbed man into the building, and the aftermath was not pretty. We also keep a man in the entrance hall, but he was gone to the back locking doors when the teen allowed the guy through the main doors. We now keep a man in the main entrance while someone goes back and locks the back doors. We have two men scheduled for duty, one on Sundays and one on Wednesday nights. They serve for 1 month per year.  So far, it has worked for us.  We have had some practice sessions, but our church leadership does not like to broadcast anything about our team, and don't want to disturb the members, plus it is that liability thing at play from our insurance company.  Oh, plans of mice and men!

Those who have valid concealed carry permits are allowed to church carry, however it is strictly for their own protection. They are NOT "Quazi" on property guards for the church. Our Safety Team is a totally UNARMED team. 

There is no easy answer to safety, or armed security on site,  but one sure enough should have men who are willing to step up and handle situations, within the church, if they are forced too. We even caught a neighborhood boy coming in and going through coat pockets during classes when the halls are empty.  You will be surprised what goes on, in the building, during class time. We were. 

Any church should seek information on laws and regulations in their local communities to stay within the law of that area. Also church liability insurance can be very sensitive to any mention of armed security, on church premises, so proceed with caution. 

Be safe!

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1 hour ago, owejia said:

DaveTn depends on the old guys. You're painting with a pretty wide brush. Some of us old guys have been in places and seen things that were not very nice.

I am painting with a broad brush. I’m one of those old guys; and I've seen plenty also. I’m trained, but I still understand that many security situations required physical ability and agility that we don’t have. I’m not saying the old guys are useless, I’m saying you/they have to know their limitations and work with that.

Is that age discrimination on my part? Of course it is; security is young mans game. ;)

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1 hour ago, TGO David said:

Let me know what you think.  William, the retired SEAL who runs our safety program, is one of the sharpest guys I know on this subject.  The safety protocols at our church are no joke.  It's the first time that I've been able to go to church in a decade or two and feel like the folks charged with being vigilant and protecting the congregation have it under control and I can relax enough to focus on WHY I am at church.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed it and have subscribed. I’m currently listening to “situational awareness”. 

 

A few takeaways for the church security podcast that I will bring up:

•Tag system for nursery. Apparently we’ve tried it before but I believe it wasn’t implemented properly. 

•Is our church willing to invest in the team’s training?

•Lanyards for team visibility. 

•Addressing the level of commitment from team members. I have full faith that everyone on our team “cares” but do they care enough to seek training and really strive to provide a top level of safety. 

•Limit openings to what is needed to fill and empty the church. He used an inhale/exhale analogy. 

•Dealing with the “we’ve always done it this way” mentality. This will be tough but I think with well presented data this is easily overcome. Emotions and tradition are a tough nut to crack though. 

 

There’s more but I’ll probably revisit after I’ve had a conversation with our pastor and my FBI friend this evening about all of this. Lot’s of good info there though that has hooked me to future listening. Between that and Joe Rogan I’m set for life with listening material. 😂

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Church security is a hot topic these days with all the crazy incidents. Security of all the church members and visitors are a must. Short list below.

1. All persons taking care of nursery or kids need to be vetted, you may not know if you have pedophiles, but do you know you don't??

2. The team needs to be trained to handle the situation with the least amount of force, ie. don't shoot a guy that can be escorted outside and the cops called. But if shooting him is the only course of action do it.

3.Sometimes things like fire extinguishers, first aid kits, AED are overlooked.

4. Computer security.

5. Cameras at every entrance and as many areas like parking lots as possible, with multiple monitors and multiple people viewing them.

6. Everyone needs to take the security of their church seriously.

7. As many people watching as possible, my son's church also has 1 or 2 guys in their trucks in the parking lot keeping an eye on the entrances. The guys in the trucks have rifles just in case. You know a van with 4 people could roll up and do a lot of damage real quick.

 

FYI we just joined a church last month and 1 of the reasons was their security team, I am getting older and it is comforting to know that somebody is watching out while we are in our services.

 

Hope everyone helps to make their church safe.

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