Box Elder church hires security team in light of church shootings

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© Strategos security team educating people on church security, Dec.1, 2017 © Strategos security team educating people on church security, Dec.1, 2017
BOX ELDER, S.D. -

After a recent string of mass shootings targeting churches around the country, the Outreach Community Church in Box Elder brought in a security company to educate them on response training.

Strategos International is a Kansas City based security training and consulting organization teaching churches around the country how to protect themselves.

"I never ever thought that a house of worship would be a target of an attack,” Outreach Community Church Pastor Eric Amaral said.

Since 1999, violence in churches has risen by over 2300 percent. Last year alone, 246 attacks targeted churches nationwide.

"We believe that the church is the softest of a soft target for three reasons,” said Strategos International Vice President of Church Security, Barry Young. “Number one, everyone’s back is to the door, number two, everyone’s attention is located away from the attacker’s entry point and number three, most churches take a cash offering when they come together in worship."

Strategos spent two days with Outreach Community Church teaching members hands on methods to handling a situation should their church be attacked. The recent mass shooting in Texas proves that calling 911 isn't always enough. Strategos staff says had those individuals been trained, it could have saved many lives.

"I think it's important to note that we have some of the finest professional rescuer that work in the Black Hills,” Lt. Chris Misselt with the Box Elder Police Department said. “But in the face of a violent criminal actor you'll never have a police officer"

The security company has three methods to react to the situation. First, lock out - so attempt to lock the attacker out. Second, get out or try evacuating the church. Third, if those don't work take out.

"If that active gunman comes into the room,” explains Young. “The highest probability of survival is fight back. Take a book, take a bible, take a pen, take a desk, take the fire extinguisher - whatever you can use to fight back. We want to train people don't be a good little victim."

The seminar teaches people what to look out for, if something doesn't look right it probably isn't.

"If I see somebody come into my church and it's 95 degrees they have a trench coat on, regardless of gender or race or religion - they are suspicious,” Young said.

Strategos meets with churches throughout the country teaching this seminar. Their goal is to make churches proactive, instead of reactive.

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