We created a Church Security Team; are they making our church safer?
It’s becoming more common for church’s to be taking steps to protect their members and visitors by having armed staff that are volunteers from within, paid external security or anywhere in-between. I think it is vital that we provide safety to those who attend services. We plan for events and we train for them. This armed security should be part of an overall safety plan.
In our plan to provide protection, do we plan to protect against our safety/security team? There can be intentional and unintentional consequences to who is on this team and what we expect from them. Do we have set standards and expectations for that team? This protects the congregation as well. There are several things to consider when placing people into these teams that I would like us to consider.
Do they need to believe what the church believes? Do they need to be just a “Christian” or do they need to have the same beliefs that the church holds? Do they need to be a member of the church? Attend regularly? What defines regular?
Do we do a background check on members? How often? Do they need to be licensed?
Should the team meet regularly for bible study/prayer time together? Should this be part or separate of their training time done? What is the mission of the team?
What is the expectation for firearm/self-defense training? Are there annual/quarterly expectations that all members should meet? Does the team have to attend a minimum of these trainings? Is there a minimum standard for shooting proficiency? Is there warm up time before the qualification is shot or is it performed cold as it would be in real life? Is it based upon state CCW expectations require, what local(city/county/state) Law Enforcement expects, the FBI or other agency? How often do they have to meet this skill level? If they fail, do they get a grace period for a retry? How often and how many times can they retry? Shooting is a perishable skill so it takes effort to keep those skills honed and up to a certain expectation.
Are there skills beyond just shooting that are being taught to the group? De-escalation, medical, room clearing, executive protection, etc.
Is there a minimum quality of firearm to be expected by the team? Does everyone have the same platform? Is there a backup that they carry? Are there back up magazines? How many? Are there caliber requirements for the firearm? Some holsters are banned at most ranges because of safety concerns. Does it matter how the firearm is carried or stored?
Is everything listed here documented? Is there a checklist that is verified on a regular basis? Is the team self-monitored and maintained or is there an external committee or member that sets guidelines and expectations?
If we fail in any of these expectations, we create more risk for our members and the team. Isn’t that the goal of the team, to reduce risk?