Churches are notorious for minimal security. While acts of violence at church are rare, recent shootings raise the question: what can leaders do to protect their people?
Work with local police
Learn their plans and capabilities. Most police agencies have adopted an "active shooter" philosophy. This means moving in quickly and removing a threat with lethal force, even before an organized evacuation or the arrival of negotiators.
Police may want a survey of your facility, including:
- Blueprints and photos (digital or hard copy) of every room in the church to guide officers to secure the building.
- Emergency contact information for the pastor, property manager, and members of the church crisis-response team.
- Keys to outside and classroom doors.
- Shutoff points for gas, water, and electricity.
- Any knowledge of existing threats, including anyone against whom the church or a member has a restraining order.
Situational crime expert Ronald Clarke coined these steps for avoiding an active-shooter ...