Church Security

I’ve been fortunate to participate in some excellent Active Shooter training over the years. I’ve stood side-by-side with some great police officers in great training scenarios.

It’s important to me that I’m personally prepared for the worst case scenario. That’s why I train, and why I keep training.

Make no mistake. If we get the call, we’ll go, and we’ll do our jobs. But what concerns me, is that we might not be able to get there in time. You need to know what to do, too.

In the recent church shooting in Sutherland Springs, TX, the shooter killed 26 people, before being stopped by an armed citizen who happened to live down the street and heard the shots.

Survivors who were actually in the church, said the shooter stalked up and down the aisle, shooting anyone hiding down in the pews. If he heard people whimpering, he came back and shot them again.

Here’s the deal. When it hits the fan, you have about 20 seconds to get moving and get out. If you can’t get out, you have to get to cover.

If you have a weapon and know how to use it, you have a fighting chance. But you need some training to be effective.

So I teach churches, groups and other organizations what to do. If people have Concealed Carry, and it’s allowed there, we begin with the basics, like controlling fields of fire, muzzle and trigger discipline, and what to do when the Police arrive.

it’s also important to have a mass casualty kit with the basics. Learn how to apply pressure bandages and tourniquets. EMT’s won’t be allowed into the scene until it’s secured.

Some churches actually form security teams. Others prefer to handle it informally, letting their CC members function as shepherds.

It’s best if you secure the entrances, and have someone there watching. Control the access, and be prepared to make an armed response.

But even if you don’t have a weapon, there are some things you can do. It sounds silly, but you can throw things like books or bibles at the attacker, to distract them. If enough people attack the bad guy, you can overcome them.

I teach what we call “3rd Party Disarm” of a rifle, and “3rd Party Disarm of a handgun. The truth is, if they’re pointing the weapon at you, you’re in trouble.

However, if they’re pointing it at someone else, you actually have a pretty good chance. You can come at them from behind or from the side, using their own tunnel vision against them, and take their weapon.

I saw this work perfectly when I was working with a local church just a few days ago. I had set up a couple scenarios so they could get a realistic idea of what to expect.

In one of the drills, a feisty 76 year old woman actually counter-attacked my 30 year old assistant who had come in “shooting”. It was amazing.

She came out of her pew, and pushed him off balance, into the next pew! Another woman in her 60’s, seated across the aisle, actually took the pistol away!

My goal as your Sheriff, is to continue to help churches, schools, and other groups learn how to protect themselves. I want to help you assess your sites, and make suggestions on how to make them safer.

I’d like to go beyond that, too. I’d like to hold regular police training at different schools and other locations on off days, perhaps once a month or every other month, on a Saturday morning.

Another important area is training with EMT’s and Paramedics wearing tactical armor. With the right training, they can accompany a quick response team into the active scene, and help save lives sooner.

We need to do all of these things so everyone stays sharp! You can’t be too prepared. But just in case, I want you to be prepared too!

You are your first line of defense. God bless, and stay safe!


Tom Dolan

2018 Candidate for Edgar County Sheriff

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