On June 22, 1980, a gunman entered a church in Daingerfield, TX, and killed five patrons while wounding 10 more. Now, with that massacre in mind, some churches are taking action to prevent future tragedies. Texas police officer and minister Jimmy Meeks uses the shooting as a personal landmark, marrying his wife at the church and using the incident as fuel for his Sheepdog Seminars, which teaches churches how they can protect themselves from violence of all kinds. He studies the incidents to figure out ways in which the killings or assaults might have been prevented. He has recruited Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, a former West point psychology professor and Army Ranger, to direct the international Sheepdog Seminars group. In addition, Meeks allows Carl Chinn to speak regularly. Chin was one of four hostages when a man entered the Colorado Springs Focus on the Family center in 1996 and threatened to blow it up. Meeks’ seminars serve to teach churches to examine how their buildings are laid out, note all exits, determine which rooms can be locked from the inside, identify blind spots in stairwells, and more. Meeks says he’s happy to see churches feeding the homeless and collecting blankets for the needy, but he would also like to see churches hire an off-duty police officer for certain events. In addition, he wants some church members trained to spot potentially unstable visitors.
Security InfoWatch (02/08/16) Edwards, Lynda
Provided by Don Ronsberg, Protective Security Advisor, North Dakota District, U.S. Department of Homeland Security