Churches raise security through volunteers - FOX34 Lubbock

Churches raise security through volunteers

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After the recent shooting in White Settlement, Texas, churches in Lubbock have questioned and made changes to their own safety team.

"The saying is, the duration of a mass shooting is always as long as it takes for the second gun to arrive," Victory Life Church Senior Pastor Shawn Brewer said.

Texas changed its firearm law nearly two years after a gunman killed 26 people at the church in Sutherland Springs. It allows licensed handgun owners to carry weapons into places of worship.

"The best way to combat somebody who has a firearm that is using it for evil, using it for violence against our public, is the use of other firearms," SWAT team member Corporal Chris Paine said.

Another law allows churches to develop, train and come up with a plan for their own volunteers to provide security. Some congregations in Lubbock are taking advantage of this to keep their community safe.

"There's a lot of no other way to describe it than pure evil and if we walk around naively believing that we are some how immune from that, we are setting ourselves up for disaster," Pastor Brewer said.

"The evolution of the active threats that have occurred always make us think of better ways that we can do things to make either the building a harder target, our people a harder target, and also if something does happen, to quickly address those injuries," Broadway Church of Christ Safety Committee Chair Cody Nelson said.

Corporal Paine said while church security measures are not new, there have been noticeable changes since the November 2017 shootings.

"I think congregational leaders, elder-ships have all taken a look at what they have in place right now and I can promise you they are asking the question what can we do to improve what we already have existing," Corporal Paine said.

Officers in Lubbock are training churchgoers in case of an emergency.

"I want to equip every person who takes on that responsibility with a higher level of training, a higher level of tactics, I want to teach them everything I know," Corporal Paine said.

Victory Life Church has about 50 people who have gone through active shooter training and employ off-duty officers in uniform, with marked vehicles, to be visible and vigilant during services.

"That is the biggest deterrent that we can because they park right out front," Pastor Brewer said.

If a disaster were to happen, Officer Nelson said he is confident in the security measures put in place at his church.

"Any given Sunday, there's probably 60 people at my church that are armed and well trained and armed, not just armed but know how to use it," Officer Nelson said.

Pastor Brewer said you shouldn't be afraid and go to church.

"If we get to know the people who sit around us and get to know people in a genuine way, I think that goes a long way to making us prepared for those things that are sometimes out of the normal," Pastor Brewer said.

Staffers said this training prepares churches for the worst, so if the time comes, the congregation can protect itself as efficiently as possible. 

Corporal Paine offers Active Shooter Training for all places of business. To schedule a training, email or call 806-543-5597.


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