Churches are in a unique position of wanting to be welcoming to all and providing a safe space to those who accept the invitation.
Church security plans may look different from church to church, but there are common points of consideration to think through.
Plan Module 4: Church Security
Of all the advice offered under the heading of church security, the step recommended more than any other is to contact your local law enforcement office or another public safety resource (fire department, sheriff’s office). Why?
- Most law enforcement offices will come to your church and conduct a site assessment
- Following the site assessments, they can be a great resource in building a security plan that works for you
- They are who will respond if you call; it is to everyone’s benefit for them to be familiar with your church
- Many law enforcement offices offer safety enhancing tools, such as free gun locks to improve gun safety
When you make the call, be sure to think of it as the start of a relationship. Both of you are key members of your community, and working together can only make it stronger, building the balance between welcome and safety.
BUILDING YOUR PLAN:
- Identify those in your congregation who might serve as part of the security team or be part of the conversation in developing your plan. Do you have any members who serve (or have served) in law enforcement?
- Conduct a site assessment of your church property and building(s). It is highly recommended that this by done by a security professional.
- Contact your local law enforcement office. All offices have non-emergency numbers you can call to initiate the conversation.
- If your local law enforcement office does not offer site assessments, check with other agencies, such as fire departments, sheriff’s offices or any other public safety office.
- Check with members of your security team – if a member has a law enforcement background, they might complete it or know someone who can.
- Complete the Church Security module and incorporate it into your overall preparedness planning.
Presentation: Church Security - Developing Your Plan
Some assessments may identify needs for which funds are required, such as new locks, security systems, window sheeting or lighting. Funding may be available to assist with installation and/or upgrade costs.
- FEMA Nonprofit Security Grant Program – this program provides funding for security improvements for nonprofits (including churches) that may be considered under potential threat.
ABOUT PROTECTING HOUSES OF WORSHIP:
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- Mitigating Attacks on Houses of Worship Security Guide
- Mitigating Attacks on Houses of Worship Security Guide Fact Sheet (includes links to additional resources)
- VIDEO: Protecting Houses of Worship (the benefits of building community)
Church Pension Group: