The fatal shooting of a pastor yesterday at a church in Illinois was not only alarming and tragic, but also a reminder that security has a place everywhere. To be honest, I had never really thought about churches needing a security plan. When I think of crime in churches I think of petty theft (keep your hand out of the offering plate!) or perhaps the occasional domestic-type incident, but shootings? An article from CNN discusses some of the security measures churches should have in place. Here's some excerpts:
"The church is really behind the secular world in terms of planning," said Jeff Hawkins, the executive director of the Christian Security Network.
... It's essential that a church must balance having a security presence while still keeping a house of worship open to everyone. "Some churches choose armed guards, some have a much more subtle security presence where you wouldn't even know it's there."
A church should have five security plans in place to deal with evacuation, long-term shelter, medical emergencies, lost or missing children and violent confrontations, he said.
"Every church is different so you need something that is going to work for that particular church's culture and size," he said. "And I think now, especially after September 11, people want to feel secure. They want to know if they bring their family somewhere, it's going to be a safe environment.
I also wondered, who's in charge of putting these plans together? I'm pretty sure most churches don't have CSO on the executive board.