Ramping up church security

Published 8:00 am Thursday, January 29, 2015

“Any property or facility owned or operated by a church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or other place of worship, unless the presiding official or officials allow concealed weapons.”

This is number five of the list of pistol free zones for Michigan’s Concealed Pistol License (CPL) law, also known as the “Shall Issue” law.  Many people wonder why a church (used to represent all places of worship in this article) would even be a target.

Between 1974 and 2008, 65 people were killed on church campuses during church times. Of those, 65 percent (42) were killed between 2005 and 2008. Of the 73 wounded between ’74 and ’08, (79 percent, or 58) were wounded between ’05 and ’08. This sharp increase should be reason enough to think about church security.

As your Community Service Trooper (CST) church security is one of my missions. Now, we don’t stand at the foyer doors as armed guards, but what we can offer any facility is a class on church security. We discuss why we need a security mission, who should be on the team, and how to get it started. We offer a risk assessment to the church so priorities can be set on what type of training to begin with.

Many missions should be looked at. Does your facility host night activities for senior women? If so, what type of lighting is available in the parking lots? Is there someone there to lock the facility after use? Are the doors locked during the activity?

The youth missions are a concern also. Are the young people coming to the church on their own or being dropped off by an adult? Is the adult verifying the church is open or will a young student be waiting in the parking lot alone for a period of time until youth pastors arrive? When these youth go on mission trips locally, who is driving them? Are background checks and driving records being checked?

We cannot forget about the children’s nursery. Where is this located in the church? Is it secure or near an exit door? Does your church have very strict sign in / sign out procedures? Who are your room monitors or nursery care workers? I would think a background has been done on these workers.  Also concerning these small children would be custody issues. There may be private home issues that no one in the church may know about. Is this issue being brought to church and one of the parents attempt to take the child with a false story.

All of these issues are topics that your church elders, trustees, deacons, or anyone in a leadership position should be thinking about. The safe, trusting place is no longer as safe as it should be.

Let me finish this article with a quick story. A pastor’s wife stopped to assist at the nursery and set her purse down in the hallway. A new guest arrived and was greeted with open arms at the church. No one escorted this new person to the sanctuary. A few minutes later, the pastor’s wife’s purse was gone.

While starting the investigation of a possible stolen purse, the wife’s daughter called me as her mom was on the phone with credit card companies. One of the cards was being used at that time. The investigation into this led to the arrest of one of South Carolina’s most wanted. This thief was wanted in three other states for theft of purses and other items from churches, day-care centers and schools; places where we assume should be safe. It was a satisfying case for me and proved that we definitely need church security.

If your facility wants training on church security, please feel free to call me and we can conduct this awesome training. The initial class takes less than two hours and other training can be scheduled as needed. Trooper Maurice Burton, Officer Kevin Kosten, Niles City Police, or I can assist locally with this training. Outside of our area can be conducted by my counter-parts across the state.

A biblical quote on one of the class slides is Nehemiah 4:9 “But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.”

Those who run churches, like schools and other public buildings, should have the same mindset of protection.


Any questions or comments please email me at TrooperRob53@yahoo.com or call 269-683-4411.