Our last post introduced the concept of having a security team available in a church building as a safety feature. Let’s delve deeper into why having such a team is crucial and what components should be integrated into its procedures and operations.

Why Have a Security Team?

Surprisingly, security teams are not that common: statistics indicate that only about one out of four churches has an active one. Yet, an astonishing 86% of church goers believe it’s imperative for leaders and volunteers to be professionally trained in security measures. Furthermore, 73% acknowledge that their places of worship are unprepared for active threats. Perhaps even more telling, almost two-thirds would be willing to donate to cover the cost of putting a security team in place at their church.

Elements of an Effective Security Team

So, having a security team can’t be stressed enough, and to ensure the team’s effectiveness, several elements are indispensable. First, conducting a risk assessment is paramount. This enables teams to identify vulnerabilities and develop targeted strategies to address them. Background checks are a good idea, too, ensuring that team members are trustworthy and reliable.

Comprehensive and ongoing training is also essential, covering topics ranging from handling crime and violence to medical emergencies. These include CPR, AED, and first aid training, for example, as well as the ability to recognize and de-escalate potentially violent situations. Don’t forget the backbone of security operations: written policies and procedures, which provide clear guidelines for responding to various scenarios.

Clear Identification and Communication

Finally, we need to stress the importance of clear identification and communication within a security team. Imagine a scenario where police arrive at a church during a crisis but struggle to discern who the bad guys are amongst the chaos. This confusion can escalate the situation and jeopardize lives. In high-stress situations, when every second counts, effective and clear communication is paramount.

Clear identification is also critical; by clearly identifying themselves through printed T-shirts, polo shirts, and/or lanyards, security team members will minimize the risk of misunderstandings or accidental escalation.

Visibility also plays a pivotal role in deterrence. Whether in parking lots, public spaces, or children’s areas, the presence of identifiable security team members instills a sense of safety and dissuades potential perpetrators.

The importance of creating safe and secure church environments is just one of the topics we cover in our i3 webinars. Check out the topics for upcoming sessions and sign-up at our website.