Law agencies offer training for church security

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Chowan County Sheriff Dwayne Goodwin


Chowan Herald

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association has convened a group of sheriffs and sheriffs’ personnel from across the state to develop training materials that will help places of worship create security plans to keep citizens safe.

“I am dedicated, along with the sheriffs across our state, to assisting churches and houses of worship with security and safety training to improve public safety. Places of worship should be places of peace,” Sheriff Dwayne Goodwin said.

A training session is scheduled for 6 p.m., Tuesday, in the Family Life Center of Edenton United Methodist Church.

The group’s goal was to prepare materials to be used by sheriffs and their personnel to train pastoral staff, elders, deacons and congregational members how to help prevent active shooter or other life-threatening incidents and how to react if an incident occurs during worship services.

“This training's purpose is to mentally prepare the citizens of Chowan County for an active shooter type emergency,” Goodwin said. “It is important to have a plan of action for this and other types of emergencies, so that when something happens you react more efficiently and the likelihood of the individual surviving the encounter greatly increases. The training has a real potential to prevent an active shooter from choosing to make entry into our places of worship or even other large gathering areas.”

Twenty-six people were killed Nov. 5 in a shooting attack on a rural Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle, stocked with a 30-round magazine, going from aisle to aisle as he shot parishioners. He later killed himself after a car chase.

In September, Emanuel Kidega Samson, 25, allegedly opened fire on parishioners at the end of a Sunday service, killing one woman and injuring seven others at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ outside Nashville, Tennessee.

Dylan Roof, 23, killed nine people including the senior pastor and a state senator and injured one other person during a June 2015 prayer service at Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Topics discussed in the training materials include:

— Conducting a Security Risk Assessment

— Developing a Place of Worship Security Plan

— What to do during the Critical Incident

— What to do immediately after the Critical Incident

— The need to provide Crisis Intervention Stress Management afterward

Leaders of churches and places of worship who wish to learn more about the training that is available in Chowan County should contact the Chowan County Sheriff’s Office at 252-482-8484.