Faith community gets education on security

Faith community gets education on security
January 18
12:42 2018

Security in places of worship has become the focus of many faith leaders in recent years because of the increase in violence.  On Saturday, Jan. 13, Bobby Kimbrough, a former federal agent for the U.S. government, recently shared his knowledge of security with local faith leaders so they would be prepared if an incident transpired at their places of worship.

The event was originally scheduled for Dec. 9 but had to be rescheduled because of inclement weather.  The Ministers’ Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity (MCWSV), the local NAACP chapter and the Winston-Salem Police Department worked in connection with Kimbrough to organize the event.

Kimbrough covered a myriad of potential threats from those outside and inside the church.  Some of the issues discussed were active shooters from outside the church, threats from within, confidentiality among security personnel and properly vetting church employees, to name a few.

“Basically, the overall message was to give them an overview of security in the worship place,” said Kimbrough.  “It was not that I was trying to make experts out of them; it was to give them basic understanding of some things they should consider in the worship place.”

“We touched on things like keeping it legal; we had conversations about being armed or unarmed; and we discussed things that could possibly take place in the house of worship because the respect for houses of worship we used to have is no longer there for some people.  We have to realize you can bring a church down with more than violence but also with a lack of organization, protocols or bookkeeping skills.”

For Kimbrough, he thinks that if a church is interested in starting a security ministry, it is even more important to make sure you properly select the right person for the right job.  He says favoritism has no place when it comes to security.

The fact that many of the faith leaders in attendance were not prepared for an emergency did not surprise Kimbrough.  He stated since many of these issues at places of worship are becoming front page news, many are now opening their eyes.

“Now across America, churches are becoming aware of a necessity for security in the church now.  With so many things that have happened in recent times and the frequency they are happening, people are becoming more conscience of doing things differently.”

Bishop Todd Fulton of the MCWSV thought the event turned out to be very informative.  He expressed his happiness that the event transcended across racial and religious lines.

“I thought today was awesome because we had a very diverse group of different faiths and at the end of the day, whether it’s a black, white or Hispanic church, we all live under the fear of something happening at our church next,” he said.

“What Mr. Kimbrough did was enable us to move forward with an action plan to prepare our houses of worship,” Fulton continued.  “He also gave us ways of dealing with those with mental illness, which was one of my biggest takeaways.”

Fulton stated that not only were the faith leaders in attendance interested, there were several individuals who reached out to him afterward to express their interest as well.  Fulton went on to say the most important thing was not necessarily security but to have a plan of action in place.

Addressing the current security issues within their individual places of worship was the major thing Kimbrough hoped everyone took away from what he presented Saturday afternoon.

“If you think about certain situations that have come about recently security could have prevented those things,” Kimbrough said. 

Kimbrough said that many in attendance expressed interest in a personalized security overview at their place of worship.  He said he was also pleased to see different churches from different denominations all come together for a common cause.

“This has to be all-inclusive and all for the same purpose because we all deserve to feel safe when we pray to our God in our places of worship,” he said.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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