Layer No. 3 of Layered Security

Layered security is inexpensive, and it protects more than one area. To this point, we’ve talked about the first and second layers of security. The first layer includes security cameras, and electromagnetic locks. The second layer is security film on glass doors and posting trained security, ushers, or greeters at the front door. The third level of security could be a group of individuals that are either follow suspicious individuals into the Sunday School classroom and/or the sanctuary, which we will explain today. I should mention that I am of the opinion that if there are enough able bodied people in a church, then creating a security team is preferable to hiring one. The reason? Hired security usually changes who they have in place (different person every week), and they have no more knowledge on security than the average person when it comes to church security. In most instances, they also do not know the building layout well, nor do they know the regular congregants versus visitors, but I digress.

Most churches want to portray a welcoming atmosphere, but by the same token, they want their parishioners safe at the same time. The third level of security addresses the visitor that you are not sure about. In most instances, there is nothing to worry about. You don’t want to drive the new visitor away, or even the troubled person that may need God’s divine intervention. The third level of security is more of a clandestine level of security, so that you do not drive these individuals away.

Before service (or Sunday School) ever starts, you should have an individual or a group of individuals that will sit next to, or behind, the individual in question. This holds true in Sunday School rooms or in the sanctuary during service. In most instances, behind them is the best place to sit, if possible. In the event they do pull a gun, or start acting out in any way, this security team member is within striking distance.

Let me say VERY PLAINLY that I am not telling you that these methods will always work. I am only providing ideas that may work, which will be dependent on the circumstances. One method that can be very effective in this situation is to pull them backwards, over the pew (or seat).

Another method that can also be very effective is to grab the arm with the gun, and pull it straight up, or pull it backwards behind the pew. The arm method is more difficult to do without the shooter getting off a round or two, but at least they will not accomplish their entire mission, and hopefully nobody will be shot.

If the visitor or person in question sits in the back row, the security team member may have to sit in a folding chair behind them, or sit next to them in the pew. If sitting next to them, they could grab their arm straight up (unless there are rooms with people above the sanctuary), or shove them sideways and/or trip them to make them go off-balance and force them to the floor. If they do go to the floor, and they still have the gun in their hand,  stomp on their hand until they let go, then kick the gun away. If two people are trying to do this, one can kneel on their neck or small of their back, while the other stomps on their hand.

Whenever possible, force them face down and kneel on their neck if it is only one security person/ parishioner. If more people are available to help, they can kneel on the spine, legs, and arms. There are multiple ways to hold someone, and this blog should not be considered proper training to take these actions. These methods are only being shared to show you that more can be done. It is also provided to give you ideas on what can be done until you receive professional training.

Tomorrow, I will discuss what every congregant can do to help everyone to survive an active shooter in church. Until then, may God Bless you, … Mark

Hardening Glass Door Security

Many times we think as security teams as the total package for security. Let me plainly say that relying on one thing (such as cameras, a security team, or individuals in church carrying firearms) is a serious mistake that many churches make. Layered security allows the church to have three or more layers in place. If one does not stop them, then perhaps the other two (or more) will.

Just like the cameras and the automatic door locks, posting someone at the door is another method of keeping evil people out. This would be the first layer of a security team.  Access points should be limited to one or two doors. While parishioners may have become accustom to coming into whatever door the found convenient, the overall safety of the church should be a priority over someones convenience.

After you limit access to one or two doors, you can have greeters, ushers, or a whole host of other individuals fill the job of door security, but they need to be trained. It is up to your church if the should be armed or not. No matter what the decision on arming them, teaching them to call out for locking the doors and/or evacuation is critical. In smaller churches, this can be accomplished by yelling “Gun, gun, gun!” In larger churches, it might be a call over a radio that says “Gun at the front door”. With the call, the area by that access point should be evacuated, and the security member should hide and position themselves to either run, or to hide and engage the shooter. It should be noted that if your churches plan is to engage the shooter, then the security team should all be trained by local law enforcement, or if the church allows the carrying of firearms, then they should be trained by local law enforcement and a  tactical training course at a gun range. Also, it is important to make sure the church is covered by insurance if individuals are carrying.

We need to remember that just by putting guns in our church does not ensure that we can stop shooters from entering. Guns are not always the answer, and neither are outsourced security teams. Thinking about hiring a security team? Let me discuss those tomorrow, because I have a few things we need to talk about. Thanks, … Mark

Keeping shooters outside.

In the past week or so, we have discussed signs to look for, behavioral profiling, and some basic security items such as camera’s and electromagnetic locks. Today, I would like to talk more about security.

Single items are usually not enough to stop an active shooter or bomber. Churches need to look at a layered security approach. This would mean watching the outside of the building, securing doors, and then adding layers of security inside the church. These layers can include putting laminate coverings on glass doors to impede entry, a security team inside with three main jobs, and training the congregation in what they should do. I will speak about the three main jobs of the security team (surveillance inside the church, congregation evacuation, ,and engage the shooter if necessary), and parishioners responsibilities. It is important to teach parishioners what they should do, but as I said, we will discuss these items as the week goes on.

In past years, it has been the mantra of many churches to look and be inviting. This led to the addition of large glass doors, as well as other things, to make the new visitor, and the regular church goer, feel welcome. I am a firm believer that we should make people feel welcome in church, so I enjoy having glass doors as well. The problem with a glass door is that it allows a perpetrator quick access, even if the door is locked.

Don’t think that I am saying we need to go back to the big wooden doors. While I love many of those beautiful solid wood doors, there should be no reason to change our entire lifestyle because of a few evil people. So how do we make sure that they don’t just shoot the glass, and then walk in? The simple and economical way is to put security film on the windows. The video

above shows how effective window security film can be. While 3-M is the most recognized, there are plenty of other films (and various companies) that can do the same job. The cost for the window film is really not that expensive. In my area of Illinois, it costs about $175 per door. For the small sum of $350, we can better protect our congregants by covering both glass doors. To look at this in a different light, what kind of price do we put on a life?

This is just one of many things I will be sharing in the future. If you find this blog helpful, please send us a note and let us know. Until next time, …. Mark