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Leader's Insight: Security Against Shooters

A police officer's advice on how to prevent, or react to, a gunman at church.

Churches are notorious for minimal security. And while acts of violence at church are rare, recent shootings at churches and schools beg the question: What can leaders do to protect their people?

1. Work with local police now.
Learn their plans and capabilities. Most police agencies have adopted an "active shooter" philosophy. This involves moving in quickly and removing a threat with lethal force, before an organized evacuation, or the arrival of a SWAT team or negotiators.

Provide for the police a survey of your facility, including:

  1. Blueprints and photos (digital and hard-copy) of every room in the church, that police can use to guide officers as they secure the church building.
  2. Emergency contact information for the church pastor, property manager, medical personnel, and members of the church's crisis-response team.
  3. Keys to outside and classroom doors.
  4. Shut-off points for gas, water, and electricity.
  5. Any knowledge of existing threats, including anyone against whom the church or a member has a restraining order.
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