We have just seen the fourth church shooting incident so far this year, 2008 and the trend seems to be increasing. It seems that more of the crazy people have decided that the church is responsible for their problems or in many cases, a gun free area to attack a former girlfriend, wife, etc.
Many churches have recently decided to get very serious about taking responsibility for their own security. In the past 4 years I have assisted about 10 churches get a security team started. In reviewing most of the active shooter incidents, church, school or malls, it has become apparent that the duration of the incident is less than 6 to 8 minutes. In a majority of the incidents, the shooter continues until he runs out of victims or someone in authority shows up where the shooter then kills himself. The notable exceptions to this are the Trolley Square and the New Life Church. In Trolley Square an off duty police officer distracted the shooter until the PD showed up. This off duty officer essentially tied up the shooter and he could not continue freely killing. In New Life, a volunteer female security team member successfully stopped his killing just inside the door.
Protecting against the active shooter is one of the highest concerns but there is a extensive list of services that a volunteer security team can provide. You need a plan of action if you decide to move forward in proposing and creating a team at your church. The results of your efforts will be dramatically affected by your planning, and if you plan incorrectly the results can reflect poorly on your church, pastor, and membership.
The following list of action items will provide a framework to start implementing your churches safety team.
The Task List
1. Evaluation church risk.
2. Developing a written plan to present to the Pastors and Board for getting their support
3. Finding the team (It may require some investment)
4. Establishing a Team Policy Handbook Procedures and Responses
5. Selection Security Team Members (STM).
6. Training of Team Members Policy/Procedures.
7. Selection of Equipment Radios, Flashlights, Team Identification ( Shirts, Name plates, Etc), Firearms, ASP, OC, Etc.
8. Establishing incident reports, report logs, etc.
9. Announcing the team to the members without causing panic (Why does the Church need a Security Team?)
10. Building relationships with the local Police and Fire Departments
11. Maintaining the ST without burning out the members (Staff so you and they dont work every weekend)
12. Requiring in service training to maintain an edge
13. Understanding that you are NOT Police Officers
14. The time frame for initial and total implementation of the Team
15. Creating the Bond of Christian Men in the team
If anyone needs additional information on getting a team started please contact me at Church Security Member.
Best of Luck JackJ