Security expert helps places of worship prep for an active shooter
CHANDLER, Ariz. - Incidents like the shooting in White Settlement, Texas prompt many churches and temples to take another look at their security, but are they doing enough?
How can they make sure they're ready if something like this ever happened in their church?
According to a security expert at Cornerstone Church in Chandler, Christmas, Hanukkah and Easter are times when places of worship are on high alert. Many people who aren't well-known amongst the church's community come in and out, and as seen before, sometimes those people are there to do harm.
A church security volunteer with a gun changed what could have been a mass shooting into a tragedy with two parishioners killed inside West Freeway Church of Christ.
It could have been dozens; it could have been worse.
"The incident was over within six seconds because of the actions of that volunteer," said Michael Simon.
Simon is a security expert who is also the head of security at Cornerstore Church. He built the security team with volunteers from the congregation.
"It's comprised of retired law enforcement, active law enforcement, members who have been a part of the military that have a background. Not all of our members do carry firearms, but there is a select few who do go through a training process," Simon said.
When churches are building their security team, he says skill with firearms doesn't have to be a requirement.
"We want that diversity on those teams. It's not all about the firearms. It's about having those people that can identify things that don't look right," Simon said.
The goal, no matter the size of the church, is to have a team in place that can identify and respond quickly if the unthinkable happens, like an active shooter.
Simon is part of a security council made up of valley churches. He says they are happy to advise places of worship and help build a security team.