Church security training offered

Published 9:50 am Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Two local county sheriffs are offering their expertise in assisting local churches in developing plans to make their places of worship safe against armed intruders.

This comes in the wake of mass shootings taking place at community gatherings, particularly the deaths of 26 worshipers, many of them children, at Sutherland Springs (Texas) Baptist Church on Nov. 5.

Hertford County Sheriff Dexter Hayes said he has security training material he would like to share with local church leaders.

“My goal is to share this material with the citizens of Hertford County and to help train their places of worship to develop security plans designed to minimize harm done in the event of an active shooter incident,” Hayes said.

“When you are a Sheriff you have to prepare for many different types of events in order to effectively protect the citizens we serve,” Hayes continued. “This training is designed to teach church personnel and members how to attempt to prevent critical incidents and how to react if a critical incident occurs during worship services. So we have to prepare for the worse and pray for the best.”

Hayes said the training includes how to develop a security plan at a place of worship, and what to do during a critical incident.

“The Hertford County Sheriff’s Office is dedicated to assisting the churches and houses of worship in our community with the security and safety training to improve public safety in our county. A place of worship should be a place of peace and a safe haven,” Hayes stressed.

Churches in Hertford County wishing to take Hayes up on his offer to provide security plans are encouraged to contact him at 252-358-7800.

Northampton County Sheriff Jack Smith has a similar security plan he wants to share with church officials. Smith said he wants to conduct forums at local churches within the county to discuss safety issues at religious facilities.

These meetings will be scheduled within the next few weeks with the local churches throughout the county. The Sheriff’s Office will be also notifying the media when these events are to be scheduled.

These safety meetings will be conducted in response to the rise in crime and current violent events that have taking place at churches throughout the nation. These meetings will consist of law enforcement speaking to the community and church on safety tips and precautions to have within the church.

“We will be putting this information about future meeting locations and times on the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page,” said Smith. “We will be reaching out to the local churches within the county to schedule these events for those that would like to have a Sheriff’s Office representative to come and speak on church safety. We encourage all churches that would like to have the Northampton Co. Sheriff’s Office to come and assist with making their church safer, we would be more than happy to do so.”

Any church members, pastors, and affiliates that would like to schedule these meetings with the Sheriff’s Office are encouraged to call Sheriff Jack Smith at 252-534-2611.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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