Often I see advertisement for "tactical training" and military training for church security teams. Now, I'm not against teaching church security teams tactical training and BTA does actually teach tactics, but there should be something more before that.
Like I already said, there are a plethora of "Military style" instruction available for security teams to partake in and yes, it may be fun but we live in a society that questions tactical response to disruptive behavior.
At Beller Tactical Academy our end goal is to train church security teams to ultimately protect their loved ones including their church family and yes, this does include using tactics that resemble police tactics but should training be limited to just tactics. Yes training to shoot with live firearms or simulated firearms arms such as air soft guns, gel guns or even paint ball guns are legitimate and necessary training for any church security team, and lets face it, it downright fun but shouldn't there be more.
The answer is obviously, YES! Church safety and security teams need to also train to avoid or STOP A VOILENT EVENT BEFORE IT HAPPENS.
To achieve this goal is to train and to prepare your team to avoid a problem in the first place. Is this always achievable? Obviously not but you should always have options available.
In a recent church security team training I had, we discussed an unfortunate event in a church in Texas. Yes, they had a safety/security team in place. Yes, they were armed. Yes, there was an incident where people died during an active shooting/killing at that church. And YES, tactical training was used to minimize the blood shed and overcome the threat. BUT, could something have been done to avoid the situation in the first place? I believe the answer is definitely and emphatically, YES!
After the incident, during a TV interview of team leader, he stated that they were keeping an eye on a person that was exhibiting strange behavior. This behavior sent out several "red flags" that should have been acknowledged and if they were taken seriously, maybe no one would have died. It's hard to say after the fact.
Here are some thought as to how something could have been done to "stop it before it happens". Through vigilance, security teams need to "keep watch" over suspicious activity.
Often times we as Christians don't want to offend or stop suspicious people from entering the church. After all, the church should be inviting people in not stopping them from coming. Now there are proper ways to approach an individual(s) who are up to no good, and obviously there are bad ways to do it also.
First, if you see something strange, do something about it. Don't just ignore it! Grab another safety team member and approach, using tactics and learned skills to find out what's going on. First rule of thumb, NEVER take on suspicious activity alone. There are no reasons why a church safety/security team can't call the police. Let the professionals handle the situation. You need to deal with a situation until the police arrive whether it just suspicious activity or it's a full blow hostile act, you need to deal with it immediately!
Second, planning ahead could avoid a situation altogether. This could include having a "wall of protection" around your church. Maybe not a physical wall or a fence surrounding the church property but protection indeed. Obviously churches need to be inviting for new visitors but still having an invisible or maybe a virtual wall of protection. This is your church, you are charged to protect it. The Prophet Nehemiah charged the people of Israel to work with one hand while rebuilding the wall (used for protection) in front of their houses while they held a sword in the other hand for immediate protection in case the enemy attacked as they were working.
Surveillance cameras are an awesome tool and are relative inexpensive nowadays. Can your team monitor the outside activities of the building as the service is going on inside. A new church to the Beller Tactical Academy family had this same thing happen to them. While the service was going on, crooks were breaking into cars in the parking lot stealing things from those cars. Believe it or not, this is all too common through out this country. What better opportunity for criminals to break into things than a parking lot full of cars?
Also, many criminal activities start OUTSIDE the church building and eventually come inside the building. Having surveillance cameras which are actively monitored by team members could and often do alert members to violence before it comes inside.
How about having a team member patrol the parking lot during the service? This tells the the criminal element that this church is actively protecting themselves and they should go elsewhere.
Third, if an event does make it into the church, having a team trained in de-escalation techniques greatly enhances safety and survival. NEVER should anyone who is in crisis be permitted into an area where a multitude of innocent people are, such as an auditorium or children's area. Verbal De-Escalation skills are an awesome tool to have in diverting crisis but there still should be more. Just speaking to people can often give clues to their intentions.
Even situational awareness (720° protection). Being aware of your surrounding is often the first step in protection.
How about unarmed self defense skills or less than lethal options such as pepper spray or tasers? Our team is highly qualified to teach not only your safety team these skills but we often open this segment of our training up to others in the church such as women and teens. Wouldn't everyone one in your church benefit learning some basic skills in protecting themselves?
How about firearms? Should firearms be used as a tool to defend a church? The answer is a big, and huge YES!!! You must meet force with equal force. A team tasked in protecting the flock must also have the tools necessary to do that protection.
In today's society, many church leaderships are allowing their members to carry concealed handguns in the church. I know some pastors that carry while they preach behind the pulpit. Unfortunately, firearms take a huge amount of skills to master and most gun enthusiast don't have the proper skills needed to tactfully defend themselves yet alone someone else. They are well meaning but just don't have proper skills. Plus, shooting is a depreciative skill meaning if you don't keep up with those skills you will loose those skills and I mean quickly. Too often with my students if it's been a while since they've been on the range, when they return we have to take up valuable range time relearning lost skills.
Beller Tactical Academy specializes in training church safety and security teams. Not only do we have quality firearms training but we also train to "avoid the situation" in the first place. Our training comprises of basic, easy to understand training from staff who worked in the field for well over 30 years. We can set up a new team or work and enhance an existing team. Our ultimate goal is to protect those who you love. Weather this is personal training (which we do offer) or church safety and security team training. We do it all.
Have your church leadership contact us today at Beller Tactical Academy and we can help you set up a quality training program for your church.