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Church safety seminar offered Saturday

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CASTALIA — A Nash County church is hosting a free seminar on worship security this Saturday.

Law Enforcement Training Consultants is set to hold a church security seminar at Castalia Baptist Church, 9563 Main St. in Castalia, just north of Spring Hope. The seminar will be from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. with registration starting at 7:30 a.m.

The seminar is a realistic discussion on the need for church security and how to perform a security assessment of a church, said Ricky Tucker, a member of the State Capitol Police Department and a member of the Spring Hope Board of Commissioners.

“Your church cannot afford not to prepare for potential acts of violence,” Tucker said. “According to the FBI, church violence has been on the rise for the past 20 years. While the most tragic incidents dominate the media and public attention, incidents of smaller magnitude occur each week in or on church property.”

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security considers churches to be soft targets due to open-door policies. People who attend church services and activities need to be prepared in advance for how to respond when violence occurs, according to information provided by the consultant firm.

Domestic violence often spills over into other aspects of life, which could include church, Tucker said.

“The days of open doors and not paying attention to visitors is over,” Tucker said. “Churches have to be more vigilant. No exceptions.”

Tucker said it would be great for all churches in the area to participate in the seminar due to recent shootings and acts of violence in places of worship.

The seminar will teach church leaders how to establish church security, the pros and cons of using off-duty police officers, state gun laws including open and concealed carry rules; legal issues in the use of force, including deadly force; advantages and disadvantages of armed church members; what to expect when law enforcement arrives at the scene; church liability for failure to provide security for members, visitors and staff; whether a church can refuse admittance to a service; and how to perform a church security assessment.

Law Enforcement Training Consultants, in business since 1990, typically teaches law enforcement officials, but its staff have been subject matter experts on church security since 2008, Tucker said.

The seminar is open to all denominations.

To register early, email the participant’s name and church affiliation to letc@embarqmail.com.

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