Guest Editorial Week of 1/13/20

Ron Craig

Recent church shootings give us reason to reflect

The recent church shooting in Texas that left two people dead, including the shooter, gives us pause to think about the gravity of such situations.
It is indeed sad to contemplate that we may not be safe even in a house of worship. Unfortunately, it is a sign of the times.
A few years ago, I participated in training for house of worship security and crime prevention. One of the topics covered in this training was overcoming the public’s perception that church shootings won’t happen in our area. I’m sure that was the line of thought for the congregation in Texas.
In that instance, attending the service was an armed parishioner who was a firearms instructor. Another person at the service appeared to be drawing a gun toward the shooter, but this man was shot before he could get his weapon out. It was the firearms instructor who took out the shooter, most likely preventing more injury and deaths.
Without disclosing details for obvious reasons, there is at least one church in Lake Township that has put into place a security team in an effort to help protect its congregation.
I’m sure most area churches have at least discussed security issues, including what personnel would do if confronted with an active shooter. It may be time for church officials to revisit the issue, if for no other reason than to discuss their current situations and ponder any changes and improvements they may want to make.
What may be prudent for one church may not work for another. Some pastors from churches who have no special security arrangements may feel there is no need for any change. Others may want to at least look at their church’s situation and contemplate formation of a security team.
All church officials should feel comfortable with reaching out to their local law enforcement agency to discuss these issues and get an idea on what options they may have.
A gathering of local church officials in a roundtable talk to openly discuss various security issues may also be a good starting point.

This article is a public service from the Crime Prevention Division of the Lake Township Police Department. Township residents may obtain further information on crime prevention and public safety topics by contacting Ron Craig, crime prevention specialist/community policing officer, at 419-481-6354.


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