Church pastors told to have security plans at summit

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HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. -- Churches are supposed to be places for prayer, meditation and reflection. Not violence.

But the sad reality is churches are just as vulnerable for an attack as schools. In 2007, Colorado learned that harsh reality with the New Life Church Shooting. Last year, Charleston, S.C., learned that pain too.

Saturday in Douglas County, the sheriff’s office hosted a security summit at Cherry Hills Community Church to educate pastors on what they should do.

“I think the most important thing a pastor can do is get with its congregation and develop a safety plan and develop a security team,” Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said.

Speakers told the crowd of about 140 people how to better prepare.

Some of the tips included: Train church greeters to spot the signs of someone in distress;lock doors if they are not needed to be open;treat Sunday school security the same as regular school security;seek out law enforcement members of your congregation for assistance; in the event an active shooter does occur: run, hide and fight.

“We need to be aware of the dangers that are out there,” Pastor Mike Caulley of New Life Covenant Church said. “What’s difficult as a church is we always want to be open to everybody."

Future security sessions are planned.