Church Safety Seminar in Catoosa County

CATOOSA COUNTY, Ga. (WDEF)- From the tragedy at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pennsylvania.

To Dylan Roof’s attack on a small Baptist church in South Carolina.

Religious institutions have been the victim of violent misfortunes over the past several years.

Even a church in Antioch, Tennessee suffered through similar adversity.

Boynton Church of God Senior Pastor Steve Smith says society has lost its touch with religion, “People respected God. They honored God. They feared God but they don’t fear God anymore.”

The Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office held a seminar at Boynton Church of God.

Saturday’s seminar is meant to educate church go members on how to prepare and respond to danger, such as criminal attacks.

Catoosa County Sheriff Gary Sisk says, although fire arms are useful, it’s not the only way to protect yourself, “I think a church is safe because they’re educated and prepared. Firearms is not the only avenue of being safe and prepared.”

Part of that preparation includes having a written plan for a variety of specific threats from violence to severe weather.

Law enforcement recommends practicing these plans on a regular basis.

“This will be an ongoing effort with the sheriff’s office and other emergency services because it will be about all emergency responses” said Sheriff Sisk.

Officials discussed a variety of exit strategies.

Smith suggested car pooling as a way to avoid a congested parking lot.

“It’s just to try to educate them on what’s out there and how we can help” said Sheriff Sisk.

Smith has witnessed a number of unusual incidents during his 37 years of preaching but the carrying of fire arms was only approved a few years ago.

But because not everyone is comfortable carrying a weapon and the church has a welcoming nature, he tells News 12 that he values the program that was offered today.

“Schedule a meeting with your sheriff or someone that is in the law enforcement area that has these types of plans. This just a building but the people makes up the church” said Smith.

Categories: Catoosa County, Events, Featured, Local News, Ringgold

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