I am now responsible for our church security and safety. I am looking for any and all ideas/ encounters/ wisdom from my USCCA Community.
Hey Michael, welcome to the community!!
There are a couple different threads on the topic on the community that you might find useful.
Also USCCA has some good training available through their services.
And I’m sure you’ll hear from a lot of posters here with a lot of good advice.
Take it a piece at time. In my opinion, step one is church access and ensuring that there is a window for the congregation to come in, and then the doors are locked/manned (so no one comes in mid-service unobserved). Part of that church access is also having security team members during the entry window welcoming people into the church while also making observations for anything out of the ordinary that may need to be shared/elevated with other security team members.
Second, and something I think is often overlooked, is having a strong trained first responder team with needed tools. I’d suggest 3+ volunteers, one major all purpose first aid kit in a central location and then multiple IFAKs staged throughout the sanctuary so they can be accessed quickly. IFAK should contain (IMO) tourniquet, chest seal, blood stopping agents, Israeli bandage, paramedic shears.
A lot of things will depend on your individual particulars at your church as well. If you have any LEO contacts, you may want to reach out to them for help and suggestions as well.
All that…and we haven’t even gotten to guns yet, lol. Good luck.
After I was approached about this topic, I naturally dug in to find out all I could. Articles from the FBI, Homeland Security and others helped me form a basis to create a security plan for our church. It was accepted by our church board and is now being tweaked to manage the start up of the plan. I have been informally contacted by 12 church members that carry consistently, I am also a Paramedic and have stated our own first aid and CPR training center. I have met with our local law enforcement to create a plan for our entries and egress. Not to mention I stay tuned in to the USCCA for advice. I would appreciate have someone provide a live interaction for members to see to help sale what we are trying to do for their safety.
Sounds like you’re off to a more than excellent start.
Thank you! I know this is far from a perfect world, but I really what to get this right, if that’s possible.
What specifically is your and your teams firearms experience?
BTW Welcome to the forum.
None of us are professional in the regard of law enforcement. Our only PD officer died of cancer last year. The rest of us are dedicated conceal carry members. I train (shoot) every couple of weeks. A couple of others also shoot regularly, others may shoot twice a year.They all know the liability possibilities and I have enforced they maintain insurance. Other than that, still tweaking the program.
MDV, other than the really good info put out by USCCA, John Lovell on the Warrior Poet youtube series also put out some excellent videos on setting up a church security team. They start from the beginning and work through the process.
There is a session at the USCCA Expo: Intruder Awareness & Church Security Reality-Based Training 2 in 1
If you’ll be at the Expo I would highly suggest checking it out!
Check these guys out–I’m going to one of their seminars coming up in a couple of weeks.
Here is another good source. John with Warrior Poet Society has worked with USCCA.
For starting a team from scratch this has been a great starting block. It breaks the steps down into very manageable goals, they also provide tons of support and resources.
All previous materials are also fantastic its amazing how much material is out there.
Good afternoon all, I’m an Elder of our Church and have drafted our first “draft” security\safety plan. The books listed above are an excellent start. MDVMedic, sounds like you have a great start. I recommendation for looking into ccw in a church is liability…get legal advice. We chose to fully support personal ccw in our Church. but have not written it directly into our paper work so as not bring any liability to the Church. Please continue this discussion as we will all benefit from the knowledge out there to protect our congregations and our 2A.
I recommend looking at the Faith Based Security Network. They have a lot of good information.
Not yet mentioned is a podcast offered by Guns Magazine, which includes two episode on this subject. Brent Wheat (Guns Editor) interviews a Safety Team leader about their program’s structure. One thing of interest, if I remember this correctly, is their requirement for every member to pass an FBI firearms qualification exam (once a year?) before they can carry a gun in church as part of the team. If they ever end up in court, this requirement would support for their claim of competence and professionalism.
Having a program like the one AlexV heard about is an awesome program…but for most medium small church’s it will be labor intensive, costly, resource heavy. Along with still putting the Church at risk and responsible. In my case I’m a private individual covered by my individual rights to protect myself and others, I end up in court not the church.
What you say, @Jerry1 is true, but the trend is to create formal “safety” teams that handle medical and other emergencies as well as potential shootings. The guy I spoke of, by the way, said he was from a congregation of over a thousand regular attendees, so all that formality seems justified.
AlexV, you are spot on. Active shooter is just a small portion of a good safety/security plan. Having a formal team with time and talents to do God’s work is the right approach to protecting our congregations. So how can we best apply\adapt those ideas and plans to work in the smaller church’s of say 100 to 150 attendees? Thanks for your help it is great to have somewhere to discuss and learn new ideas.
Our church has a mature security team where 8-10 of us carry. It’s not a requirement, we just allow it. Our team has gone through some growing pains, here’s my humble opinion, for what it’s worth:
Focus on basics. Securing doors, making sure kids are safe, how to respond in medical emergencies. Making sure volunteers are actually doing security and not chatting in some ‘holy huddle’ somewhere.
Develop relationships. With local police and fire. Ask them to visit, walk-through with the team.
Train on de-escalating events. Hurting people come to church. Give your team tips and tools on how to defuse high-stress events.
Talk common sense. Those who carry are passionate about doing so. They take pride in their firearms and how they carry and use them. But in reality, at the end of the day, a mass-shooting or weapon deployment is highly unlikely. While it’s OK to train for it, it should not be the first priority of your new team. Focus on basics first.
Just my 2-cents. Best of luck with your team!
I’m no expert, @Jerry1, but I’ll bet one or more of the references above will have some ideas about how to support a small congregation. I’d have a look at the USCCA publication for sure.