7 church security team responsibilities

How public safety officials can prepare faith-based groups for the commonplace and out-of-the-ordinary incidents that might befall citizens in their houses of worship

Jack Wilson, a West Freeway Church of Christ parishioner, firearms instructor and member of the church’s security team, fired a single shot, killing an assailant in the church sanctuary. Wilson’s actions, supported by other church security members, surely saved lives on Dec. 29.  

Churches and other houses of worship are targets of opportunity for assailants. Twenty-six people were killed in a Sutherland Springs, Texas church on Nov. 5, 2017. A single gunman killed 11 and wounded 6 others at Pittsburgh synagogue on Oct. 27, 2018.  

Protecting parishioners, worshippers and congregants from an attacker intent on mass murder is a critical responsibility of a church security team. But it is a missed opportunity for injury prevention and life safety to make it the only responsibility. For the faith organizations in your community considering a church security team or re-invigorating an existing team after Wilson’s heroic actions, public safety leaders should encourage team members to accept and prepare for these other responsibilities:  

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