CULLMAN, Ala - Hundreds of churchgoers filled Temple Baptist Church to hear the Cullman County Sheriff's Office explain best practices for church security.
This comes on the heels of a church shooting in White Settlement, Texas that killed two people. The video seen around the world shows a fast-acting security team taking down the threat in seconds.
"We got to protect ourselves. Protect members of our church. That's a high priority for us," said Trent Loyd of Flint Creek Baptist Church.
The sheriff's office says church security and their advice comes in two forms. People in attendance even got a manual.
"The main two things is how to set up your church security team and what to do if an active shooter comes to your church," said Sheriff Matt Gentry.
According to the Cullman County Sheriff's Office, It's recommended that churches with at least 100 people have 2 security team members. Although, there is nothing wrong with having more.
However, while having more is great, it's important that training is done in a group. If one person cannot make the training's on a regular basis, that could be a weak point in your security plan.
Deputies told the crowd that regular target training and CPR training is a must. Training for various scenarios both standing and sitting is crucial as well.
"Could you have made a headshot, hitting someone in the t-box (between the eyes), Fifteen-feet away after two of your friends just got shot?" asked Trevor Clemmons of the Cullman County Sheriff's Office after playing video of the close-quarters shooting in Texas.
Here is a list of tools that they suggest all churches add or consider raising money for:
- Surveillance Cameras
- AED/First Aid Kits
- Panic Buttons
- ID/Access Cards
- Weapons (Guns, batons, pepper spray/mace, knives, taser)
Deputies recommend that when services start, that churches lock all doors, not counting the front door (In case of stragglers). However, having someone at the door all service IS recommended. They also suggest having someone monitor security cameras at all times if applicable.
The Cullman County Sheriff's Office says each church should have a plan that best fits their facility and operations. Because of that, they offer the chance to do a security check with their department. They will walk the grounds and make recommendations while giving general security advice.
"We individualize each church because each church is different. Since doing that we've done over 100 individual churches," said Sheriff Gentry.
This was the third major church defense class put on by the Cullman County Sheriff's Office. The first class they offered roughly 2.5 years ago was attended by more than 1,500 people.