DENVER, N.C. — Local law enforcement agencies are starting to get the word out about their active shooter training programs, with a specific audience in mind-houses of worship.
Sunday’s deadly church shooting in Texas highlighted programs churches have in place, ones many couldn’t even imagine having just a few years ago.
“It’s a sad truth and sad reality,” Jamey Green said, associate pastor at Pursuit Church in Denver.
Green also helps lead the security effort at the church, which is in a building that once housed a shopping center.
“I was standing out in the parking lot one day,” Green said. “Everybody is in the sanctuary, away from the doors and they’re facing [the opposite way].”
Green asked for assistance from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, which he said provided an assessment and even an active shooter drill.
Programs like this are getting a closer look at houses of worship in light of recent events.
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“People are becoming more aware, and having more attention that threats are out there and they could come at any time,” Sgt. Ashley Conner said, with the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office.
Conner does the training and assessments for churches within his jurisdiction.
“I look at the flow of traffic in and out, the number of exits and entry points,” Conner explained.
Conner said the biggest weakness parishioners can have is not being aware of your surroundings at all times, in and out of the church.
“You got to put the phone down,” he said.
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Green said the lessons they’ve implemented are leading other churches to reach out to them for advice.
Law enforcement agencies generally offer these assessments for free. Any additional cost will come on whether security is hired, or whether members of the congregation will be used as guards.