Jump directly to the content
4 Effective Methods to Prepare for Gun Violence at Church
4 Effective Methods to Prepare for Gun Violence at Church
How church leaders can consider financial costs and practicality in their response planning.

The recent shootings at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, which left 26 dead and several others injured, have once again focused attention on church safety, with many church leaders asking what steps they should implement to protect their congregations. Most churches in America are safe places. While incidents of shootings on church property are shocking, they are rare. But "open access" policies of most churches make them susceptible to violent acts. While such acts cannot be completely prevented, there are steps that church leaders can take to reduce the risk. Let’s review some of them.

Four possible options

Here are four possible response options that leaders of churches of all sizes and settings should consider:

1.Off-duty officers. The optimal response to the threat of an armed assailant on church property is to have two or more uniformed off-duty law enforcement officers on site during services, with a police car parked in a highly visible location outside the church. Such persons should be thoroughly screened before being hired, receive extensive training in dealing with volatile situations and the use of firearms, and receive continuing training in the use of firearms and job-related skills. They will serve as a deterrent to crime because of their uniform and vehicle. Further, according to some courts, these individuals become on-duty police officers, even while otherwise acting as private security guards, when responding to criminal activity, which can reduce a church’s liability based on negligence for their actions. Churches considering the use of uniformed off-duty police officers should check with the local police department regarding the recruitment of such persons as security guards, and the number that are needed. There is a cost involved with using police officers to provide security, but those costs are diminished by the fact that you will not be using them for more than a few hours per week.

Article Preview

This article is currently available to ChurchLawAndTax.com subscribers only. To continue reading:

Posted:
December 29, 2017
View All
from our store
Politics and the Church

Politics and the Church

Tax and legal guidelines faith-based organizations need to know before jumping into the political fray.
Church Board Guide to Developing a Risk Management Strategy

Church Board Guide to Developing a Risk Management Strategy

Learn why it is essential your church develop a risk management strategy and how to implement the strategy in your church.
Church Board Guide to a Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Policy

Church Board Guide to a Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Policy

Church leaders and boards can take relatively simple, yet effective steps to reduce the likelihood of child sexual abuse.
Draw the Line: Relational Boundaries for Safe Youth Ministry

Draw the Line: Relational Boundaries for Safe Youth Ministry

Proactively protect the students, leaders, and pastors at your church.
ChurchSalary

Receive a customized salary report for up to 15 different ministry positions. Learn how your church should compensate based on size, budget, location, and employee work experience.