Church security meeting set for Monday

By ED HOWELL, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 1/28/18

The Walker Baptist Association is hosting a security training meeting Monday that will be open to all churches of all denominations, noting that an effort is underway to submit building plans from all county churches to the Walker County Sheriff’s Department.

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Church security meeting set for Monday

Posted

The Walker Baptist Association is hosting a security training meeting Monday that will be open to all churches of all denominations, noting that an effort is underway to submit building plans from all county churches to the Walker County Sheriff’s Department.

The Rev. David Miller, director of missions for the Walker Baptist Association (www. walkerbaptistassociation), said the event will be led by the Rev. Mark Wakefield, Southern Baptist’s state director of disaster relief. The free event will be held from 6 until 8 p.m. at Northside Baptist Church in Jasper.

The session is one of a number of meetings being held by churches across the nation to deal with security in the wake of terrorist events, including the massacre at a rural Texas church that killed 26 people in November. The gunman died shortly afterward.

Wakefield is “going to be doing a seminar about security, but he is also going to talk to us about how we can continue to minister while we are doing security,” Miller said. The purpose is so that while being focused on security, church officials don’t lose sight of also ministering to others, even those that officials might need to be keeping a close eye on.

“For example,” Miller said, “when a visitor comes up who we do not know, we will have someone to greet them and either possibly sit by them so we can possibly minister them or get to know them, find out who they are, where they are from and get some information. That helps us to minister to that new person or family who is coming. And then, if they were a threat, you will have someone in close proximity who has already got some vital information from them.” 

He emphasized the event is not just for Southern Baptist churches or even Walker County churches.

“This is for any church of any denomination in our county or surrounding counties,” he said. Any church member “is welcome to come,” although the particular emphasis will be for church leaders and those involved with security teams from churches. The event will address putting together security teams, how to train them.

Moreover, another major security effort is underway for all type of churches in Walker County.

“Our Walker Baptist Association will all get to my office floor plans (of church facilities) and we’ll get those to the (Walker County Sheriff’s Department) and have those on file there,” he said. Law enforcement could bring up the floor plans on a computer and have the layout of the building on their iPhones and tablets before they leave out on a call.

“That way they know where people are,” Miller said, noting he is encouraging other Walker County churches, including those of other denominations, to do the same, noting they can also bring the plans to his office, as he will then take them to the sheriff.

He said he has discussed the plan with Sheriff Jim Underwood, who has signed off on the plan.

“I am acting as a liaison with the Sheriff’s Department to try to get that data to them so they are not just bombarded with churches bringing stuff,” Miller said. “I told the sheriff we would take care of that here.” 

Underwood, who said the department would be represented at the meeting, noted Friday at least a couple of rural schools already have floor plans in the computer system. He said he and Miller had discussed the proposal, and the department will accept the plans.

He said officials will see how well this works before seeing about expanding use of the program to other entities.

Miller said the use of the security teams can be useful is keeping the pastor out of security matters as much as possible, considering he has enough duties already while church is going on.

Hopefully, after hearing the program, each church will be able to go back and work on their teams and their own security plans, Miller said. “Every building is different, so there may be different ways they need to respond,” he said.

A number of churches are expected to be represented, as the event has received 500 hits on Facebook, Miller said.

If anyone wants more information, they may call Miller at his office at 205-387-1820 or come by his office at 230 North Walston Bridge Road in Jasper. The email address is walkerbaptist@walkerbaptist.net.