With the recent tragedy that took place last Sunday in Southern Springs, Texas, it poses a very important question: Are we prepared for this same possibility at Deer Flat? Probably like me, you sat and wondered, “How does something like that happen? And, How could it ever happen here? I think you agree with me that the Church should be a place of safety. Safety isn’t something that just happens. It happens because intentional measures have been taken to provide a real place of safety. We have been very intentional about this issue at Deer Flat Church. This has also been heavily factored in to the current building project. Let me give you a bit of an overview about the plan and function of the Security team at Deer Flat.
About 5 years ago we began to take a hard look at the policies and procedures we had in place in regards to safety and security. Although we had made many changes up to that point, we fell short in many areas. We had been fortunate to not have any serious incidents, but with our growing size, location and a changing world we determined it was time for action.
We begin to identify and analyze our weaknesses, voids and opportunities. We determined that we needed several things including:
1. A better check-in system for our children
2. Improved and broadened background check requirements for child/youth workers
3. A more secure facility
4. A safety/security team
5. An emergency plan
As a result we begin to implement changes almost immediately and have made the following changes:
1. Installed electronic check-in for children/youth with security name tags
2. Installed 16 video cameras to monitor facility
3. Limited entry points into building
4. Installed locks and safety glass on all classroom doors
5. Created a security team
a. Church divided into zones
b. Person at control center and monitors
c. Ongoing training
d. Radio communications
6. Created a medical team
7. Developed a complete emergency plan
Our new children’s wing will have additional cameras, inaccessible windows, intercoms and only one entry point to maintain a safe and secure area for our children.
There are many camps of thought on church security from very casual to militant. We have chosen to take a position of prevention and preparedness. Our primary goals are to make sure we have not “left the front door open”, be a visual presence to our people as well as any that might intend harm and have a plan if something happens. We will continue to make improvements, grow our teams and do relevant training to ensure your safety and security.
We have some great, dedicated people on our team and I am very grateful for them all. If you have an interest in being a part of the security or medical team, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 208-459-3845.