While consulting with churches, one of the first questions we receive is whether they should spend money on cameras for their church or upgrade the current system. My reply is to ask, “How many volunteers watch the cameras during church services now?”
I usually receive a confused look. There is a mistaken belief that cameras alone will provide adequate security, but they fail to stop crimes in progress alone. The human factor is needed to identify what the camera is seeing, and to act upon it, otherwise, you have a very expensive piece of equipment that will capture the victimization(s) alone.
The New Spring Church lawsuit may illustrate the need to use your cameras to full effect, including assigning someone to monitor them when they church doors are open and training them to pay attention to suspicious behavior. Additionally, the lawsuit complains the church did not have effective child care policies in place to protect the children while on church campus. Policy becomes a very important issue when/if your church is sued. The issue becomes whether there was policy and then whether the policy was implemented, reviewed and training provided to church volunteers.
It has been reported the suspect had received a background check, but as happens in so many cases, if he had not been detected and arrested previously, nothing would have been revealed in the background check.
A few weeks ago a lawsuit was filed in North Charleston, SC against New Spring Church. This church is a multi-site congregation with an average weekly attendance of 20,000 in 14 campuses across the state of South Carolina. A church childcare volunteer, Jake Hazlett, 28, was accused of molesting a 3 year old boy in a church bathroom on September 30, 2018.
When authorities learned of this incident, they reviewed camera footage from the past three months and identified fourteen separate instances of child abuse. Hazlett began working with children in March of 2018. The camera system only archived three months of video footage, so it is unknown how many more children were assaulted by Hazlett. He has been charged with 8 additional counts of child abuse.
According to ABC 4 News:
“Police say video surveillance they’ve reviewed shows Hazlett fondling the genitals of several young children, not only the one.
Affidavits provided by the North Charleston Police Department show Hazlett admitted to detectives “inappropriately touching numerous children” while volunteering at NewSpring,
Police say Hazlett told them he sometimes also videoed his actions and took photos of the children. Hazlett said he used the images for personal gratification, authorities say.
Hazlett admitted to detectives he knew his actions were wrong, but also said he found young boys sexually attractive, according to police affidavits.
According to the lawsuit, Hazlett often looked back at surveillance cameras he knew were in the room while molesting the children, and would frequently look over his shoulder to make sure others weren’t coming who might see what he was doing.”
When it was learned he served as a football coach and childcare worker for The Cove Church in Mooresville, NC, police opened an investigation to determine if any crimes had been committed there between 2010 and 2014.
In the video below, I include a news video about an incident this past weekend (September 22, 2018) where an incident occurred during a church off-time (4PM) to be exact. If you are a security volunteer, what should you do? How should you train your pastor and Sunday school teachers to handle a threat?
Show this short video to your team and discuss how you think your team should respond to this situation. Nothing is ever hard and fast, but rather, there is a good way, a better way and a best way to handle things.
If you are a team leader, keep an open mind to team member ideas and don’t close your mind to other ideas. For example, in the video I talk about calling the police and letting them handle it. If your team members have medical skills and can determine the scene is safe, they may want to risk going out to treat the shot person with a tourniquet, chest seal or to begin packing the wound. If this is done, how will you coordinate it? Two man firing team to set up a hasty perimeter while the patient is treated? It is your call! Just agree in advance as a team how you will handle it.
The pastor of a Catholic parish in the Diocese of Wilmington was attacked on Monday afternoon, 7/30, in the church office. 25-year-old Joshua August has been charged with felony assault 1st, misdemeanor assault 3rd, misdemeanor resisting arrest, and misdemeanor criminal mischief. It happened around 2 p.m. at Resurrection Parish on the unit block of Videre Drive in Pike Creek.
Father William Graney was allegedly assaulted inside his office by August. Church employees heard a struggle coming from the room. They found the priest on the floor and the suspect punching and kicking him. The employees tried to pull the suspect away but he pushed them off. The suspect then went to another room and returned with a wine bottle. He poured the wine over the priest and then began to hit him with the bottle. He also sprayed compressed air in his face. The employees were able to coax August outside by saying they’d call for a ride and give him money. They locked the doors once he exited the building. He broke the door trying the get back inside. Police caught him as he was skateboarding away. Father Graney was taken to the hospital and is in stable condition.
After skateboarding away, New Castle County police eventually arrested the suspect and identified him as August.
According to court records, when August was being put into the police car he allegedly said he wanted to kill the victim and wished he had finished the job, and said he enjoyed watching the victim with blood on his face and body.
August is not a member of the church, but he was apparently known there. One parishioner told us he has been seen around the church for up to 18 months, but did not want to say anything more than that.
At August’s family home on Tuesday his grandfather told us Joshua has long suffered from mental illness, but declined to elaborate.
Graney, who has been the pastor at the church for at least a decade, is described as warm and outgoing.
“Father Bill is very giving, he’s very loving. He would help anyone that came to him and asked for help. I don’t think he would ever turn anybody down,” says church member Pamela Skwish.
Father Graney is in stable condition but will have to undergo further surgeries for his injuries.
August is currently being held in lieu of $52,250 secured bail.
Resurrection Parish offices will be closed and daily masses canceled until further notice.
Niagara (Ontario, Canada) police are searching for a suspect after a violent robbery at a Welland church left one person with minor injuries.Investigators say a man walked into the Central United Church around 6:50 p.m. on July 4.
It’s alleged the man went into the church kitchen, physically assaulted a staff member and took some items before fleeing the area. Police have released surveillance images of a suspect and are hoping the public can help identify him.The images show the man wearing a short sleeved shirt, shorts and a backpack.
Anyone who recognizes the suspect is asked to contact Niagara police.
Many church violence incidents stem from domestic violence or relationship problems that spill over into the church. In this incident, it did not appear a church safety or security team was in place. The suspect was able to stab his ex-girlfriend, then waited outside the church until police arrived.
In the video (you may have to login to YouTube), you will see people milling about while the man stands outside the church holding a folding chair and a knife. He had apparently already stabbed one woman. Another woman using a walker doesn’t appear to understand the danger she is in when the police roll up and she is placed behind the suspect and the police. Since nobody was present to move innocent people along, she ended up becoming a hostage.
The incident developed very quickly and the officers were forced to make a deadly force decision.
“Los Angeles police released body camera video Tuesday of a police shooting that killed a man and a woman he was holding at knife-point in Van Nuys at Central Lutheran Church.
Police initially responded to a report of a man who had stabbed his ex-girlfriend June 16 at a church. Officers who arrived at the church in 6400 block of Tyrone Avenue in Van Nuys found the man holding a large serrated knife, police said. As officers got out of their vehicles, the suspect identified as 32-year-old Guillermo Perez, was ordered to drop the knife, police said.
Officers can be heard yelling, “Drop the knife,” in the body camera video.
An officer fired a beanbag shotgun at Perez, who used a folding chair to deflect two rounds. He then grabbed a woman standing next to a nearby building and pushed her in between himself and officers, raising the knife to her neck, police said.
Three officers opened fire, striking the woman and Perez, who both collapsed to the ground.
“Tragically, the woman was also struck twice by gunfire,” said LAPD Chief Michel Moore before presenting the graphic video Tuesday.”