Tennessee church shooting leaves one dead, several wounded, officials say. That was the headline on Sunday, September 24, 2017. According to police the masked gunman shot and killed one female in the parking lot and then entered the sanctuary where he began shooting people indiscriminately. One Church member, a 22 year old usher, was able to respond by physically confronting the gunman, during which, the gunman received a self-inflicted gunshot to his chest. That member then went to his car in the parking lot, retrieved his own weapon, and headed back into the church where he held the suspect at gunpoint until police arrived. Clearly things could and would have been much worse if not for the heroic and selfless action of that young man.
At this point we don't know what motivated the gunman to carry out this heinous attack. However, does the “why” really matter? The answer is no. We could spend days and days trying to figure out why these happen and trying to predict when and where another one may occur, only to come up short. We all have to go beyond asking ourselves why and adjust to the reality that these types of mass casualty incidents are on the rise and we have to accept the fact that we must do something to prepare for them.
Here are five things that every church should do to improve their security.
1) Form a security team. Hopefully your church already has some sort of security team but if not, now is the time more than ever. More than likely these crazed gunmen are not going to target the large mega church that has three uniformed police officers sitting outside. They likely select their targets based on their ability to carry out as much carnage as possible. Having an obvious and visible security presence is critical.
2) Get a threat assessment and security evaluation done for your particular facility. Every church building and property is different and will have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to achieving physical security. Hiring a professional to evaluate your facility can make all the difference when it comes to critical incidents.
3) Develop plans and protocols. Your team needs specific plans and protocols in place to be truly effective. Every man for himself is not a plan. What are the preventative measures and protocols going to be and who is responsible for them? What are the teams’ specific roles should an intruder enter the building? These are all things that need to be nailed down in advance.
4) Conduct training. Training and repetition is what makes soldiers and police officers so effective at their respective jobs. They face situations daily where they must take decisive action immediately upon encountering a threat when there is no time to stop and think. They do this by relying on their training so that when the time comes they don’t simply react, they respond.
5) Be vigilant and consistent. Do not take for granted that another member of your team has already checked the south parking lot, or has secured a particular door, etc. Do not get complacent about your plans and protocols. Consistency can save lives, complacency kills.
If you want to learn more about strengthening the security presence at your church or business, go to our website or give us a call at 615-236-6484. We are passionate about helping organizations achieve real security in this dangerously developing world.