I see and read a lot of different websites about church security. Most are from the experts, those hired as church security consultants with background in law enforcement or personal protection security. What I don’t read a lot about is church leaders who have stepped up to the challenge to balance a welcoming and inviting campus with a secure one. Granted, I am in the infancy stage of our new program and the most that our folks do is provide a presence in our building and give directions to people when they are lost. Which, is totally ok with me at this point. Let me explain a bit. Our buildings are open 7 days a week with 5 night openings until late. We have state of art video surveillance, door access control, burg, fire, panic and audio controls. What we lacked was a warm body to greet, meet and sweep. That is what I call our first level of care or security. At night, we have one access point in our building. Everyone that enters is greeted by person at our receptionist desk, at night, referred to as post 1. I might add that all these folks are volunteers. We then have a team of ‘roamers’ who meet people in the halls or in public areas to help guide them to their destination and also sweep each class room. A sweep is a entrance to each room with a flash light to check that room for people that have wandered off the path. The room is then locked. One of our roamers will then do a couple of outside perimeter sweeps of the exterior of the building.
friendly, courteous, church security officers
I train our folks to be friendly, courteous, and most of all, visible. So when I implemented this first level of church security a few weeks ago, I had no idea the response I would receive. Frankly, I was shocked to receive the emails, phone calls and notes in my box from church members who were totally grateful for the presence we were providing. Our security folks say they are thanked constantly while they are on duty, making them feel that their sacrifice of time and effort really worth it.
church leaders and church security
Obviously, I would not openly discuss every proprietary level of security that we have, but lets just say that we will have eyes and ears on most every area of our campus every time the doors are open. All of that said, there is a huge discussion from church leaders on both sides of the coin whether to provide church security of not. I really can’t turn my back on the fact that there was almost 200 violent incidents in churches in 2012. Who knows the ones that were diverted because someone was at a post where it appeared that the church was not a vulnerable target. 56 people lost their lives last year — at church. So, I’m ok with my leadership counterparts that tell me, “you have no faith”. I would much rather hear from the parents of the kids we watch over each and every day say … thank you, we feel safer knowing someone is watching after us.