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Dozens attend Jackson County Sheriff's Safety in Worship Symposium

Posted at 1:49 PM, Sep 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-01 23:41:30-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — More than 150 people from 80 churches and mosques across the Kansas City area came together Saturday to learn about safety at their places of worship.

It's supposed to be a safe place, a place where you can go and not worry about someone hurting you, but that's not necessarily the case.

"Churches have been deemed soft targets because it's a place where hundreds, if not thousands, of people come together in one setting," Jackson County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Raashid Brown said.

Pastor Eric Fields had a shooting last summer at his church, where a man came in a back door and fired shots at a greeter.

Fields said he never thought this would happen at his church.  

"I just want to let people know that, even when you don't think something like this is going to happen, you still need to be prepared to make sure that your people are ready from the top to the bottom," Fields said.

The idea for the seminar started with Brown, who has seen his fair share of shootings.  

"So, once I got here and I started realizing that they may not have any safety measures in place, I thought it would be a great idea just to hold a symposium to offer free training from resources from across the nation," Brown said.

Security experts said having a plan is the number one key to keeping people safe.

"There are a lot of churches out there that don't have an idea of what they should be doing and when. Hope is not a plan," said Church Wolfe, head of safety and security at Sheffield Family Life Center.

Brown said church officials will now know what to do if something happens.

"I feel like we have, as law enforcement responsibilities to help prepare and train those who may not have the experience nor may not have the funds to attend a training session."