Security!? In a church?
Copyright Notice: If you can use any material on this website to make churches or ministries safer, please do so. Please pass on the information as freely as it is given.
This allows operations staff 180 seconds to investigate any alarm before the horns go off. The fire department will require evidence of effective staff training on fire alarms, which is a mandated benefit.
If you knew or should have known that a person had the potential and / or history of harming children, you may be liable.
Consider Recurring Background Investigations from Secure Search (background investigations for all volunteers and all staff)
A car broken into in a church parking lot is a serious issue. Police should always be notified instantly, as these thieves often take information from the vehicle registration to determine the home of the owner – drawing a conclusion that the home will be unguarded then, or at the same time in future weeks. In some cases, they take the garage door opener and before the investigation is over at the parking lot, they are already in the home. As a precaution, vehicle registration and other owner address information should be kept in a secure place in the vehicle. New garage door openers can fit on your key chain and be with you at all times.
Don’t re-invent the entire wheel when developing a security program. Local ordinances often require Shelter in Place, Emergency Action or Security Plans for schools.
Keep an incident log of medical emergencies, and quickly pass on the names of any persons treated for medical issues to pastoral staff for prompt personal follow-up ministry.
Build procedures manuals as you go. Keep the document small and simple – no more than one page for every category.
The best eyes on the audience are those of the announcer, Senior Pastor or Song Leader (depending on the time of service). When and of these folks see something that may need the attention of security, they can point with a unique gesture (not a normal gesture for them, but shared with all security staff). To anyone in the audience, it simply looks like a normal speaking hand gesture. To those in security, you will know where to focus attention.
You can train receptionists to make an announcement to equally trained staff responders over the intercom system of “Tom Smith, you have a call on line 1” any time a situation is making her uncomfortable at the front lobby. Choose any name that is not someone working for you – it is an announcement requesting assistance.
Risk& Vulnerability Assessments are critical as a first step in developing any security program. Law enforcement and insurance agencies both perform them without charge. It is good to modify one (after the first one done by others) to repeat annually to record progress and make certain nothing has slipped.
Event agitators are often either fishing for infractions, or getting media attention with a church as a background. Be intentional and educated in readiness for such actions. For a guide on readiness, write me and request the Best Practice for Agitators, disturbances and protests.
There are two primary ways of security personnel identification – uniformed, or non-uniformed. Non-uniformed is preferred in almost all ministry environments. Should a significant incident develop, there will be a need for identification as first responders arrive – they must be able to distinguish between the good and bad human elements on scene. Badges are good, but in a high-adrenalin incident they won’t be seen. Following are some options;
Automated Alarm Notifications: Instant notification of alarms is critical in all environments. Duress buttons (panic alarms) can instantly alert in-house support and / or notify law enforcement. There are multiple ways of accomplishing this.
Conferences Coming Soon
A church security conference is a great way to see what others have done, get to know like-minded professionals, and learn ways to make your program more effective. Following are conferences, events or presentations coming up.
Our "Sheepdogs for Churches" conferences include certificates for Continuing Education Credits for law-enforcement!
For more information on the “Sheepdogs for Churches (AKA: "Bullet-Proof Believers") seminars review:
Dave Grossman talks about the Sheepdog Seminars for Churches
If you would like for me to speak at an event in your city, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recent interviews and media references
Politics and Guns podcast (Broadcast interview November 2014)
Church Law and Tax (Interview November 2014)
Jesus Creed (reference June, 2014)
Christian Science Monitor (interview June, 2014)
Interview with LTC Dave Grossman about our joint Church Security tour (Spring 2014)
See this “Life of Duty” special on church security where LTC Oliver North talks about the statistics on this website
Chuck Norris has mentioned these works and the book “Evil Invades Sanctuary” two times; "In God we Trust -- All Others we Search" and Tis' The Season to Increase Church Security
SBC Life (interview)
Church Law Institute (reference)
Risk and Security LLC (reference)
Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch (interview)
Charisma News (reference)
More conferences (including Colorado Springs, Omaha and Sacramento) added 3/27/2017
Look for the resource of your interest in red letters.
Disclaimer Notice on tips & resources: Two of the best contacts for a church security / safety planner are an attorney and an insurance agent. All suggestions on this site are at risk of being legal in one jurisdiction but not another, acceptable by one insurance underwriter and not another.
Always be certain to confirm regional legality and insurance coverage compliance before implementing any practice.
I am so grateful for those of you who have freely shared what you do in a way that others can learn from. Keep those comments coming! email@example.com.
Associations and Speakers
I am glad to recommend the following:
Newest Added Resources
My good friend Jeff Kowell is the long-time Director of Life Safety for New Life Church. Jeff has started a website, including a blog regarding managing such efforts. I am certain there will be many good words coming from him – bookmark it today and get started early! Go to http://jeffrykowell.com/blog
https://thestrongblueline.org My good friend Tim Rupp knows law-enforcement and church security very well. A retired police officer from Texas, now Tim pastors an Alliance Church and is becoming quite a writer. His latest book, “Winning a Gunfight” is a must have for every police officer. Visit his website and consider giving to the Strong Blue Line so every law-enforcement officer in your county can have a copy of this book.
Go to US Law Shield ( http://www.uslawshield.com ) to read up on this must have insurance policy for all conceal carry holders. New states are being added soon, but already if you are in Colorado, Texas, Pennsylvania, Florida, Oklahoma, Georgia or Virginia you should check this great insurance out. To get 14 months for the cost of 12, use my promo code; Chinn
I negotiated a deal with a radio supplier to furnish good radios at a reasonable price specifically for church security teams. I have tried these radios out myself and found them to work well across many building types. To read more about these radios and to see your discount go to http://churchsecurityradios.com/chinn
www.SheepdogDefenseGroup.com is a great resource for church security training and licensed operations in Texas. I have met the law-enforcement officers who manage this great program and I recommend and endorse them. They also do church security consultations, TX conceal handgun courses, on-site classes and weapons training.
This is now the conceal carry holster of my choice for everyday carry of my .45 XDS. It is an “inside the waistband” type that has a very unique wearing design. I have worn it now for nearly a year and will always use this option when dressed casually.
www.HartRescue.us is a support ministry for America's Emergency Responders, Military Service Members and their families. Mike and Linda Swihart are my friends who manage this organization. Mike is not only retired law – enforcement, he is one of those who actually did stop a killer at a church (Aug. 23, 1992 – First Free Methodist Church in Ft. Collins, CO).
Visit www.GatekeepersSecurity.com to see how this church security training and certification and licensed operations program may be right for your church. This is the only training / certification and licensed operations program I am aware of that operates in multiple states (TX, OK, KS, CO and growing). I have known the owner for many years and recommend and endorse the Gatekeepers program.
Templar Integrated Security Solutions has developed a Rapid Response System™ that can deter spree killings in churches, schools and wherever the threat of violence exists. This patent pending solution involves hardware, software and training. It is a 21st century solution to a 21st century problem. It is effective and affordable. Visit www.templariss.com.
Endorsed by LTC Dave Grossman, Pastor Jimmy Meeks and myself.
I have been very impressed with the writings of Alan Hughes on his church security blogsite at www.safeatchurch.info
I have met some of the folks from Strategos International through the years, and often ran into churches who have been through their training. I believe they are on track with the momentum we as a protection community are all working towards-- improved and effective readiness. They now offer programs specifically for churches at www.churchintruderresponse.com
http://www.stealthdefenseholsters.com/ Great conceal carry holsters -- perfect for church security team members
Faith Under Fire Documentary
This documentary of the Daingerfield, TX church shooting in 1980 is a must see for all church security teams.
Innovative Tactical Concepts: A very resourceful website on defense concepts. The Watchman Church Security Training Video Series is a 6 DVD series focused on just church security concepts.
Jim McGuffey's Church Security Tips : Blog / tips / articles.
www.sentryoneconsulting.com Church Security plan starter kit.
Appropriate& Effective Security Technologies -- Guide for Schools and Law Enforcement by the National Institute of Justice.
C. E. R. T.(Community Emergency Response Training)
IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association). Great competitive shooting and training (continuing nature firearms training)
Krav Maga is an Israeli based defensive tactic program.
www.missingkids.com; Great model for missing / lost Children. Order the free Code Adam procedures and modify it to fit your environment.
www.cppssite.com DVD entitled, “Shots Fired -- Surviving An Active Shooter in the Work Place” is the best work I have ever seen on the subject for environments where there is no active and ready security details. This video is not for active security operations, but for churches not wanting an active and intervention capable security program, this is good stuff to think about.
RUN> HIDE> FIGHT> by Houston Readiness planners Active Shooter response concepts Great for environments where there is no active and ready security details. But if you have security operators – they best not be “running and hiding”!
ESI (Executive Security International): Private security and close protection (aka Executive Protection) concepts
Always discuss potential concerns for an upcoming event in a security team meeting before the event begins.
Consider extra-duty agreements with your local law enforcement agency.
Organize volunteers into two teams – odd & even – each of which serves only on the Sundays with odd or even dates. This way you don’t burn out volunteers.
CCTV (surveillance) systems not only deter crime and capture incidents, but verify what didn’t happen as well as (critical in false accusation cases).
Intrusion detection systems can be integrated with automated lighting controls. For example -- when a door is forced, window broken or motion sensors are activated at night, all exterior building lights and the parking lot lights can come on.
Lights always on can be almost as vulnerable as lights never on. But lights that come on due to some action (can be as simple as motion activated switches) catch the attention of both perps and night-time patrolling officers.
Pre-alarm covers on pull stations prevent most nuisance fire alarms.
Check with your fire alarm system provider regarding PAS (Positive Alarm Sequence) programming.