How can congregation leaders prevent active shooters? What can they do to protect their worshipers? These questions were discussed before 100 attendees, including congregation leaders, at a symposium hosted by Covina Police Department on Wednesday specifically to address the needs of houses of worship.
Covina Police Department Lt. Dave Foster offered emergency planning tips, informing the congregation of the plan, identifying safe spaces, creating a security team, utilizing a notification system, identifying vulnerable spots in facilities and having highly visible ushers and greeters in populated areas to monitor people.
Foster suggested utilizing ushers and greeters to evaluate the mental state of service attendees as they enter and establish relationships, so they can identify if a person is acting strange.
In a panel discussion, a senior investigative researcher for ADL, Joanna Mendelson, said churches can increase lighting, locks and security personnel, but half the battle is making the congregation aware of a formal plan.
Some recommendations are not costly, Mendelson added, such as creating a safety team composed of capable adults who can aid in emergencies.
And, for anyone who was wondering, FBI Acting Supervising Special Agent Ronald Schloegel believes having a registered weapon in facilities would not increase church safety.
Full story at San Gabriel Valley Tribune.
So, is this becoming a trend?
Heavily armed officers evacuate Holy Innocents Church after Long Beach police received call that someone with a rifle was inside.
Police swarmed a Catholic church in Long Beach Sunday morning after getting a false report of someone inside with a rifle, according to authorities.
Officers set up a perimeter around the church but weren’t able to find anyone who matched the description of the supposed gunman, LBPD spokeswoman Jennifer De Prez said.
It wasn’t immediately clear who made the call. Whoever phoned police hung up after saying there was a gunman.
From July 14 Long Beach Post News story.
Panic inside Queen of Angels Riverside
Mass was interrupted Sunday at a church in Riverside when a man came rushing in saying he was going to shoot everyone.
Video showed a woman racing in and saying, “We’re all going to die” in Spanish, causing even more panic.
At this point, a man ran in saying, “Everyone down, there’s someone in the back with a gun. He’s going to kill all of us.”
However, no weapon was found on the suspect or his vehicle.
From June 18th CalCatholic story.