Church Security Basics: OODA Loop

Church Security team leaders have expressed frustration with the issue of training, and I have heard from people on the team who don’t necessarily like attending training because it consists of the leader reading policies to them.  BOOORING!

I believe training is best done in small bites.  I have been to day long trainings where I walk away with about two actual productive hours, and the rest is wasted time because my brain isn’t able to absorb the training. The best training involves learning a skill, then being able to immediately practice it with a lot of reps, then being tested upon the teaching with a short test.

What your team needs are short 10 -20 minute training lessons that can be shared with the whole team or presented in a group session, discussed, practiced, tested and then on you can be on your way.  I am developing this course over the next year and I am going to disseminate it on our blog.  If you are a member from Free to Legacy, you will have access to the lesson for two weeks.  The study guide, test, certificate and video download will be made available for sale at a very reasonable price.  This will help us sustain CSA and we appreciate your support.

Church Security Basics 1: Introduction Video The O.O.D.A. Loop

The video, notes, test, and certificate will be available on our training page in the near future.  Church Security Alliance

Pastor Cut By Man After Praying To Receive The Lord

Charlotte, NC – Police report Michael Kelley, 32, attacked a pastor inside a church, stole his car, and robbed a local store. Police later shot and killed the suspect during a traffic stop.

Pastor Larry James, pastor at South End Presbyterian Church was alone in the church when Kelley walked in and asked how to become a Christian. It was after praying with Kelley that Pastor James says Kelley grabbed him, and with a box cutter in his hand, demanded the Pastor James keys, wallet, and phone.

The pastor sustained a cut across his cheek and one across his nose. He says once he realized Kelley didn’t have a gun, he refused to submit to his demands.

The pastor says he fought with Kelley in the hallway just outside his office for an extended period of time. As he was leaving he took the pastor’s keys and drove off in his card.

According to Spectrum News:

“I think he saw that I had a bank card. He said ‘give me your pin number,’ I said no, I’m not giving you my pin number, and he kept motioning and he finally hit me across my nose,” he said. “I finally got to the place where I could move my foot and I kicked him and he kind of fell back.”

Police later spotted the vehicle on West Boulevard which led to the search that turned into the deadly officer-involved shooting.

“Pastor James says leaders at the church were already looking at security upgrades and what happened on Wednesday will only expedite that. He also says this will not change him reaching out to people who walk into his church.”


Man Shoots Estranged Wife And Daughter In Church Parking Lot

Houston, TX – Deputies said Arthur Edigin shot his estranged wife, Graciela Torres, 66, and Penny Zapata, his 31 year old daughter around 7 p.m. Thursday in an apparent domestic dispute at the Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church in Houston.  The pair were attended an ESL class given at the church.

Police reported the suspect fired five rounds into the vehicle.  A 17 month old child, Penny Zapata’s daughter, was in the backseat.  She was unharmed.  Graciela Torres died on the scene and Penny Zapata is hospitalized in serious condition.

The suspect fled the scene immediately after the shooting and was located in a West Houston hotel.  Police officers cleared the building and began negotiating with the suspect to come outside with his hands up.  Gas was introduced into the room, but he refused to come outside.  When police made entry, they found the suspect dead from an apparent self inflicted gunshot wound.

Man Abuses 14 Children Under Watchful Eye Of Security Cameras

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.

Training: Man Shot Outside Church

I have posted several incidents of strange happenings in church parking lots: drug dealing, gun violence, man with a gun, suicidal subjects, and robbery to name a few.

Glen travels to train church security teams. More info at

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.


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