Armed guards keep watch over church services

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    VIP Member Array paramedic70002's Avatar
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    Armed guards keep watch over church services

    Please don't make this a religious discussion.

    Armed guards keep watch over church services - CNN.com

    (CNN) -- Lori Davis remembers a time when the doors were always open at her church -- and not guarded.
    Relatives mourn after a gunman opened fire at a church meeting in Brookfield, Wisconsin, in 2005.

    Relatives mourn after a gunman opened fire at a church meeting in Brookfield, Wisconsin, in 2005.

    "No one thought twice about their safety. I guess we took it for granted," said Davis.

    But things have changed. In an era when terrorism threats and deadly shootings at schools and churches have made headlines, religious leaders are rethinking their security strategies. Last Saturday, a minister was fatally shot and another man wounded outside of a church in Kentucky where the men went to attend a funeral.

    Such violence has houses of worship evolving from the days of walkie-talkies and video surveillance to armed guards, who keep a watchful eye over worship services and church.

    "We live in a sinful world and people do crazy and irrational things," said Davis, a member of the Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky.

    Highview, like a number of other churches nationwide, has a volunteer security force consisting of at least one armed guard during any given worship service. See where some recent deadly church shootings occurred

    "I'm much more comfortable knowing they're there if needed rather than just hoping for the best," Davis said.

    Highview also has a medical team on the grounds during weekend services, when thousands of people pass through its doors.

    Every member of the security team, from ushers to medics and armed guards, receives some kind of training related to their post, be it conflict management or anti-terrorism tactics.

    "We realized that, as the largest Baptist church in Kentucky, we'd be a little nave to think something would never happen to us," said Highview Pastor Randy Record, who is also a police officer. "We're catching up in an era of terrorism and a church is no different."

    Many Highview worshippers say they are comforted by the fact that there is a focus on security.

    "There are no safe places anymore. Something could happen to me in church just as easily as at home or in the grocery store," said Sheri Mock. "But I don't worry, because I feel secure in church with the program they have."

    In the past five years, business has consistently "picked up" for Dale Annis, founder of Church Security Services, a consulting company that advises houses of worship on security strategies.

    "You have to take some of the incentive yourself. I don't think you walk down dark alleys in bad parts of town and say 'God will protect me,' " said Annis, who is also in charge of security at his parish, the Olive Drive Church in Bakersfield, California.

    In states where people are allowed to carry concealed weapons, volunteers have become a cost-effective means of providing the security that some churches have come to rely on, Annis said.

    Safety consultants stress the importance of using volunteers who are trained in armed confrontations, such as retired or off-duty law enforcement officials, to ensure that firearms are used as a means of last resort.

    "I want churches to consider heavily the burden of responsibility of protecting people," said Glen Evans, a consultant who also is a member of the safety team at his church in Centerville, Ohio. "If you have people using guns, they need to be trained to know when to use them."

    The leadership at the Lincoln Berean Church in Nebraska recently hired an off-duty police officer to complement its security team as an armed presence during major events.

    The church already has a volunteer staff whose job is to serve as both a "welcoming presence" and extra "eyes and ears" during hours of operation.

    Jeff Petersen, a pastor at Lincoln Berean, said the church began considering armed security members after a gunman in Colorado last year killed four people and wounded five at two churches. In that case, a volunteer security officer with law enforcement experience fired on the gunman and stopped the attack, according to authorities. The gunman later died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.

    "We want our people to know we care about their safety and we're aware of the unfortunate possibilities, so it's important for us to be proactive," Petersen said. "We just felt like it would be the worst possible day in our church to be unprepared for that kind of thing."
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    Annis, a former peace officer and martial arts expert, said a properly trained staff could mean the difference between an exchange of gunfire and a defused encounter. He recommends that parishioners drop to the ground while trained security members handle the situation and call in the authorities.

    Annis, Evans and Petersen said their guards have never needed to open fire during a worship service. In fact, most of their security efforts involve parking lot thefts and vandalism. They hope they never have to face a more serious security threat.

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    VIP Member Array TN_Mike's Avatar
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    A co-worker and I were talking today about this very subject. He asked me (and all 3 other guys in my shop) why we felt the need to carry. We told him all of our reasons and he said he doesn't feel the need to be armed. He said he just keeps an attitude of confidence about him and he feels that protects him because the criminals would rather target someone who seems scared already.
    I told him that maybe that works for him so far but it will do very little when he meets with a group of armed crack heads.

    He then said that he keeps Jesus with him and that should be enough. To which I replied that Jesus would want him to carry and use every means at his disposal to protect the life that God has given to him. And that he should even carry in church. He was stunned that I said this until we talked about all the attacks that have happened in churches in the last few years. He was not aware that one could carry in a church in Tennessee and that he felt sure that no one in his church was armed.
    I assured he that is Shelby County, where we are, there is the highest number of carry permit holders in the whole state and that is is almost a sure thing that someone in his church is armed. And, that he should be happy about that.

    He still sees no reason to carry a gun. Some people will not see the logic in our position until they are the victim of violent crime. And all too often, it is too late by then.
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    Church carry in FL is fine, also. At our church my wife and I have a personal security detail team...me and my Kimber.

    Stay armed...trust in the Lord...stay safe!
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    VIP Member Array obxned's Avatar
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    Freedom of religion, like our other freedoms, must be actively guarded and defended.
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    Member Array chuckE's Avatar
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    The instructor that taught my Utah non-resident CCW class said that a local church wanted a meeting with him to discuss training his staff. However, the pastor did not want him to hold the class at the church because he felt it sent the wrong message???

    ***?
    Bitter and clinging to my guns and my religion.

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    Personally I carry at church for that reason.. Although I will admit that I did disarm myself over part of the weekend that I was at a conference Mainly because worship tends to be pretty passionate and jumpy and I didn't want to take the chance of someone seeing my fire arm later I thought wow what if.. But at the same time.. I asked God what to do in that situation and I felt fine not having it on person.. I still checked my exits and came up with an escape plan.. This instance of me not carrying was situational and usual for me being that I carry 90% of the time.. Sometimes you do have to trust God with your life.. I just ask him before I do it.

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    Schools, churches, public venues, and government buildings are well known as gun-free zones, thus meaning the easiest targets. Criminals aren't stupid, lawmakers are.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckE View Post
    The instructor that taught my Utah non-resident CCW class said that a local church wanted a meeting with him to discuss training his staff. However, the pastor did not want him to hold the class at the church because he felt it sent the wrong message???

    ***?
    He was probably thinking along the lines of "turn the other cheek"

    Church carry for me is out of the question since in GA a church is considered a public gathering...
    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

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    Thumbs up

    Armed guards keep watch over church services
    It's the obvious and only reasonable tactic, IMO. It's the one thing that has a chance of stopping an attack in progress. Pixie dust and phone calls won't do that, nor will prayer. The best thing leaders can do is to strengthen the defenses ... in a church or elsewhere. Kudos to the pastors and others who have seen reality for what it is, instead of what they wish it to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by broknindarkagain View Post
    Church carry for me is out of the question since in GA a church is considered a public gathering...
    I have never understood this logic. One would think that the more valuable the target is, the greater the need would be, in a sense. ie, schools, churches, malls, parks (families, children). Of course, each life of an upstanding citizen is valuable, and that should be reason enough.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
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