KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Church leaders in the metro are re-evaluating their security measures in the wake of the mass shooting at a church Sunday near San Antonio, Texas.
Barry Young is Vice President of Church Security at Strategos, the leading organization training churches in security techniques in the country. The company is based here in Kansas City. Young teaches church leaders to start their security plan in the parking lot. He said there should be trained people patrolling the parking lot before during and after the service looking for suspicious cars and people.
“It’s not profiling people. It has nothing to do with race or religion. It has to do with spotting someone who may be not be dressed according to the weather, has a strange facial expression or unusual behavior,” said Young.
The church security expert said greeters and ushers should be strategically positioned at any door that is unlocked at all times before, during and after church.
He also explained that access should be limited to areas where young people and children are being taught and ushers or the security team should also be patrolling those areas.
Pastor Brad Oyler, of Courageous Life Church in Independence, completed the two-day security training from Strategos. Oyler said people working in children’s church or with the youth ministry at his church have to clear a background check.
Oyler also said if any suspicious people come into the church there are ushers who have been assigned as part of the security team to sit in front of and next to that person to make sure they’re safe and everyone around the person is safe.
Young said his message to church leaders is — be prepared.
“The biggest issue we are trying to convey to churches is it can happen to you,“ said Young
“Our issue at Strategos is we don’t want you to be scared. We don’t want you to be paranoid we just want you to be prepared,” Young added.
The security plan at Strategos has three primary pillars.
“So, if your church encounters an armed gunman, it will take 4 to 9 minutes on average for law-enforcement to arrive so church leaders need to have a comprehensive plan — Look-Out, Get-Out and Take-out,” said Young.