Faith-based leaders and police discuss security concerns

Faith-based leaders and Virginia Beach Police collaborated to talk about security.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- It was a collaboration between faith-based leaders and police.
    
On Monday night, both groups got together for a Q&A in Virginia Beach about security.
    
Police said after the deadly mass shooting at a church in Texas recently, many people had concerns about safety in their own churches, so VBPD held this discussion to talk resources and answer questions

Among the hundreds of people was Ben Lane, a member of Sandbridge Community Chapel who helps with church security. To him, this Q&A session was about finding effective ways to enforce safety at church.

"What else can we do that maybe we'll hear tonight?" said Lane.

"We wanted to give them a chance to express those concerns and tell them what resources we have available to them," said Master Police Officer Allen Perry.

MPO Perry lead the discussion Monday night. He said there's not a high chance a mass shooting would happen at a local church.

"When something like this happens, it's very high profile but it's also not likely to happen here," he said.

MPO Perry says although a mass shooting is not likely to happen, people should still know how to respond and react should it ever happen.
    
The police department has many resources that can get people trained and equipped. But, they also want people to be aware about responding to fires, medical emergencies, and other more likely scenarios.

"Those same things you do to prepare for those incidents will help you if there is an active shooter incident. We want them to focus their time and resources that are going to best serve their congregation," said MPO Perry.

Police said one of the easiest things church ushers and leaders can do is just be aware of who's walking into your place of worship and greet them.
    
If you spot anything suspicious, say something.
    
The "Religious Institutions Security Program" offers assessment reports, training for ushers/greeters, active shooter responses, as well as other services. If you're interested, you can contact police at (757) 385-2742.

There's also the "Active Threat Citizen Defense" course, which prepares citizens for active threat situations. 

For more info, you can contact Master Police Officer David Nieves at dnieves@vbgov.com.

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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