BOX ELDER, S.D. — A western South Dakota church is hosting security training following the mass shooting at a Texas church earlier this month.
The training will be held this week at the Outreach Community Church in Box Elder to identify how church buildings are vulnerable to acts of mass violence, the Rapid City Journal reported . Church leaders, staff and volunteers will learn to single out suspicious individuals, train security teams and secure a facility.
The church is working in coordination with the police department and Kansas-based training group, Strategos International, which has provided training to over 1,000 churches in the U.S.
The church had already been working with Strategos to improve security since last year. Although, interest in such training spiked after the shooting at a small church in Texas killed 25 people, including a pregnant woman.
“It brought to the forefront that we need to look at the security of the facility,” said Ernie Nelson, the church’s pastor. “You can’t just take things for granted in the day we live in.”
Organizers said seminar participants will discuss whether individuals with concealed-weapons licenses should be designated to attend church services while armed.
Outreach Community Church already has attendees who bring guns to its services, according to Nelson. “I’m not opposed to it,” Nelson said. “Some people are.”
Police Lt. Chris Misselt said that arming service-goers is a “component not all will opt for.”
About 60 people have signed up for the training, including people from North Dakota. The seminar costs $99 for one day or $159 for both days. While designed for church members, Nelson said that everyone is encouraged to attend.
Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com