NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WJBF) – In light of recent church shootings, North Augusta Public Safety is taking an active role in preparing houses of worship for the unimaginable.
“The security of worshipers is our number one priority,” said Ken Alexander with Stevens Creek Baptist Church.
Houses of worship in North Augusta are not immune to active shooters.
North Augusta Public Safety Chief John Thomas says a mass shooting, like the one at a Texas church earlier this month, is not something anyone wants to happen in their hometown.
The Chief is taking it upon himself to make sure congregations, in his jurisdiction, are prepared for the potential threat.
“We want to make sure that people understand we have to take this seriously, in this day and time.” Chief Thomas told WJBF NewsChannel 6.
In the event of an active shooter officers isolate the threat and contain the suspect.
However, if the shooters flees officers have to consider the danger nearby churches, schools and the community are the subject to.
Which is why Rick Porterfield, with Faith Family Church, says he was interested in attending the round table discussion.
“I wanted to come, because I wanted to know what the community is doing and how we can interact with the community in making sure churches are secure, not just us.” Porterfield said.
Two of the biggest takeaways were securing the various entryways into sanctuaries and looking for signs of potential shooters.
Many of these leaders, at Wednesday’s meeting, already have security plans in place at their churches.
“We have a procedure in effect, where we have certain doors that are locked and things like that.” Alexander told WJBF NewsChannel 6.
Still, Chief Thomas says it’s always a good idea to learn about ways to improve their protocol.
“Making sure they understand what the state statute says and what we can do for them, and what they can do for us.” He said.
North Augusta Public Safety is hosting another round table discussion on Thurs., Dec. 30, 2017, beginning at 9 a.m.
It will be held at the North Augusta Community Center at 495 Brookside Ave. Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story.