Editor’s note: In response to the tragic church shootings in Texas, we decided to interview local law enforcement professionals for their advice on preventing anything similar in this area.
Jarrod Schiereck, El Dorado Springs Police Chief.
Q. First off, what kind of recommendations do you have for churches to protect themselves and what is it legal for them to do? Under a previous Concealed Carry Law, in order to carry a concealed weapon in church, a person had to have the permission of the pastor.
Well, it’s the preacher or the governing body. That is still the law. If you do carry it in the church without the permission of the preacher or the governing body, all you can receive is an infraction ticket, which carries of fine of less than $50.
Q. Will that affect your right to carry a concealed weapon?
Not the first time. The second one would result in the suspension.
Q. What do you recommend that churches do?
I think that the governing bodies of the churches need to look at planning for their security. Each church is a little different and poses a different situation. So they may need to look at what kind of security measures they may need that are inherently unique to them.
Also I would encourage them to think about locking down during their services. What I mean by locking down is basically locking their doors and only have one entrance and exit or at least one entrance.
Basically securing it so if anyone comes in during the service they have to be let in.
The other thing is: If any of the members of the church receive any information concerning a threat or reported threat while they are at church, it should be reported immediately to law enforcement as soon as possible.
The other thing is: I always recommend that churches look to certain entities to receive training. Stratagos out of the Kansas City area has specific training for church security and houses of worship. Alice also works with houses of worship and other places.
If they don’t get training, I recommend that they at least review at what is recommended by Homeland Security for active shooters and violent intruders which is the Run, Hide, Fight tactic promoted by Homeland Security.
There are three different things out there that I know of to do during an violent intruder active shooter incident: That is an Alice training program of which I am the instructor, Stratagos which is what the school uses on occasion and, of course, the Department of Homeland Security’s Run, Hide, Fight.
Those are some tools I would suggest that they investigate to see which one would be more appropriate for them in their facility.
Q. You say you are an instructor for Alice?
Q. What’s the fee for that?
There is no fee for me to provide that training within the City limits and within Cedar County.
Q. Who would be eligible for that?
The governing body of the church or the pastor of the church can contact me and we could schedule a time and get together to see whom they would like to work with. It might be a church security detail. Some churches may opt to have their altar members there.
Q. Kimball and I just thought that we should talk a look at it locally because of what has been in the news.
At this point in time I have already had two local churches contact me. I will meet with key personnel to go over the Alice training and certain other things to assist them on ideas for security of their building.
Q. So you’d be available to even talk to a rural church in Cedar County.
Cedar County Sheriff James McCrary
Editor’s note: I called the office of the police chief, the sheriff and the prosecutor to tell then I would call them Tuesday afternoon about church security.
Q. Give any thought to the church safety situation?
Q. What thoughts did you have on how rural churches can avoid an armed or violent intruder?
I think it would be a good idea for some of the members to carry. I wouldn’t have a problem with that at all.
Q. One thing Jarrod said is lock it down during the church service.
Most of them probably wouldn’t. Everybody is supposed to be welcome, I guess. That would be another decision the governing body would have to make.
Q. I’m wondering about watching outside the building for anything suspicious.
Greet them at the door and say, “Hi, I’m so and so.” And just see how they act.
Q. The sheriff and I discussed the Texas shooting.
You say nothing like that will ever happen around here, then it does. That’s probably what they said, too.
Q. So there’s really nothing a church can do except be alert?
Alert. Aware. Concealed Carry.
I would think that if the church did allow Concealed Carry, it would only allow people who have had the training and have been issued a Concealed Carry permit. I think that’s a good idea.
Cedar County Prosecutor Ty Gaither
Q. The police chief is an Alice instructor.
I took the training class.
Q. How was it?
It was good information about what to do in situations. Of course, sometimes situations overwhelm your response like if you have somebody coming in with automatic rifles on an unarmed church. No matter what amount of training you have it’s probably not going to make a difference. It’s good information to have if you have someplace to get away or a way to get away.
We are old school. When you go into church, you take your hat off.
When you are not safe in the Lord’s House I don’t know what to think. Bringing a gun into a church would not feel natural to me nor to most folks. We’d think it was a sacrilege.
It’s terrible to have a situation where you have to think about doing something like that.
The world has gone crazy. What do you do about insanity?
Q. In the Bible, David and Goliath, he didn’t pray for him. He took a sling and put a rock between his eyes.
That is well put.
In a rural area, there is never going to be enough police to handle every location in the county. Or in the city.
I don’t know how you address a problem like this. Quite frankly, I don’t want to go to church carrying a gun.
Q. It would be legal then for the church to decide that individuals who are properly trained could carry guns. I’d have to look at the statute, but that is my understanding. Yes.
The prosecutor reviewed the law while he was on the phone.
He read it to the Sun: RSMO 571.107, Subsection 14: You cannot carry a concealed weapon into any church or place of religious worship without the consent of the minister or person or persons representing the religious organization that exercises control over place.