We started the new year identifying the characteristics best suited to serve in security and recruiting those individuals for your team. If you missed that blog, take a minute to read it here before continuing this one because today we are discussing what to do next. I am particularly talking about what to do if you’ve never had a safety and security team in place. Hopefully you used this list to identify and recruit the right people and now you’re ready to meet with your new team to discuss what it means to be part of the safety and security team and determine what you’re going to do to create safer environments.
#1 Background Checks: Regardless of how well you think you know your new team, I suggest doing a background check on every one of them. This is a safety precaution for you and the church. There will be costs involved, be there’s simply no way around asking someone to carry a weapon or secure your children’s areas without doing a background check first. You should also know the laws of your state.
#2 Walk-through: Next, you will need to take your team on an detailed walk-through of your facility. Even if you’ve seen all areas of the church before, every entrance and exit looks vastly different from a security point of view. If your team is just getting started, you likely will not have enough members to secure every door. You will need to prioritize based on high traffic areas. Good starting points to consider are your most used entry/exit to the building, children’s area, and sanctuary. Pastoral security is always a priority but should be separate from your team security.
#3 Communication: Your team will need to be able to communicate with one another. Until you’re ready to invest in radios and custom earpieces, there are plenty of apps to choose from or you can even opt for a group text message. Keep in mind earpieces are ideal because it keeps all conversation confidential but if you need to start with texting it should be made very clear during your training that this is not the place for casual conversation, jokes, memes, gifs, or even emojis. This text is for necessary communication only. I would suggest having your team practice the use of cell phones while stationed at their posts. That might seem silly, but I think we can all agree it is so easy to get distracted on our phones and while serving on the safety and security team it’s very important to be aware of everything happening around you at all times.
#4 Codes: You will need to have codes that your team can use to effectively communicate. Using codes is especially helpful when you are in the midst of a large crowd. While they may hear what you are saying, it only sounds like gibberish to most people giving no reason for panic. Codes also help to create clear communication, leaving very little room to question the urgency of the situation or who is needed to immediately respond. Use this list of codes to start. All team members will need to learn and know these codes by heart, but as you are starting out, I would suggest typing them on a small, pocket-sized laminated card.
As your team grows more confident in their security roles you will need to begin more in-depth training; scenario training, target practice, and fit tests. But for now, focus on these tips and teach your team to always follow P.E.A.C.E. no matter what.
Just like anything else you’re doing for the first time, starting and growing your churches safety and security team can feel a bit overwhelming. It’s difficult to do what you’ve never seen done and learning all the ins and outs can be a lot to take in. I want to encourage you to take a moment to feel proud. What you’re doing is huge! You made the decision that your church is no longer going to be labeled a soft target. You decided that while you may not be ready for top-notch FBI level security, you can do something, and when it comes to safety, something is always better than nothing. If you have any questions or comments about getting started with your churches safety and security team please leave them below so that I can help.
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