Local security companies share expertise following Texas church - KCTV5

Local security companies share expertise following Texas church shooting

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Natalie Davis/KCTV5 Natalie Davis/KCTV5
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

It’s a sick feeling thinking you have to worry about your safety when you go to church, but people do. KCTV5 spoke to local security companies who work with churches and other organizations to prevent violence.

“It’s very disheartening to know that this is going on almost on a weekly basis somewhere,” said Kent Harris, CEO of risk mitigation firm Harris Associated Consulting.

A day after the shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Harris said he’s hearing from a lot of worried people.

“The phone calls are based on fear. They see it on TV and they start asking questions. There’s got to be a plan. If there is no plan, it is a recipe for disaster,” said Harris.

Harris’ firm conducts a comprehensive assessment and then helps organizations create a plan for safety.

Strategos International trains people in safety and security across the world at schools, workplaces, churches, and other organizations. According to the company’s president Vaugh Baker, since 1999, there has been a 2,400 percent increase in violence in churches.

“They’re seen as a soft target and they are a soft target. In our churches, we’re inviting people to come in with hurts, heartaches, and hang-ups. We want it to be easy to come in so we can minister to them; however, we need to understand that we are vulnerable, we are soft targets, and we have to put some common-sense strategies in place because of that,” said Baker.

The first step, according to Baker, is to create awareness. He said most tragedies are preceded with bad body language and bad behavior.

If you find yourself dealing with an intruder or active shooter, he recommends using his 3-out model: get out, lock out, or take out.

Get out of harm’s way, lock out the threat, or as a last resort, try to take them out. Do what you have to do to protect yourself.

Baker said the biggest obstacle people face in overcoming violence is “the big D” – denial. People think it’ll never happen to their small church or their small community.

“The statistics don’t support that. More than half of these incidents occur in populations of less than 10,000 people. If you’re from a small community and you say, ‘Oh that’ll never happen here,’ obviously, we saw yesterday it can happen and it does happen more than you think,” said Baker.

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