Since 1999, 453 people have been killed inside churches in America. The November 5th incident in Sutherland, Texas, was the latest wake-up call to the body of Christ to come together and address this issue.
Joining Jim to contribute to that discussion was Richard Schmidt. Richard is the acting sheriff for Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. He was appointed to the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s office in 1986, promoted to sergeant in 1996, to captain in 2002, to deputy inspector in 2003, to inspector of detention in 2006 and inspector senior commander in 2010 by then Sheriff David Clarke, Jr. Sheriff Clarke resigned in August of this year and Richard assumed the role of acting sheriff. Through his years of service he has led the Police Services Bureau which included expressway patrol, criminal investigations and airport security. He had oversight over the House of Corrections, the Courts Services Division, the Criminal Justice Facility, the Safety Building and the courts located at the Children’s Detention Center.
Sheriff Schmidt began by informing listeners that you can’t have the attitude like some have that they won’t be involved in a horrific crash or accident or won’t be involved in a shooting. Statistically there are about 400,000 congregations in the U.S. The chance of a shooting incident happening are way below 1% but the problem is, no one knows who the next victim will be. This means all of us need to properly prepare.
In 2005, the research literature he studied showed that less than 25% of churches actually have some type of team that is prepared to face the kind of situation that took place in Texas. The church Sheriff Schmidt attends has a robust team made up of individuals from law enforcement, former military, some retired law enforcement and others who have a passion for safety within the church. Unfortunately, he indicated that there are still many churches that aren’t seeing the seriousness of this situation.
Sheriff Schmidt believes there are times when you are either going to take the bullet or you’re going to protect and save lives. That’s a decision each and every church leader has to make. He leans on the side that says God gives us a right to defend ourselves and protect others, so even with respect to those who may disagree with him, he feels it’s an absolute necessity for our church leaders, as shepherds, to look over their security protocols.
Is your church ‘winging’ it? If so, how can you begin taking preparations from the standpoint of personnel, facilities, communication and basic awareness? Should churches allow people to ‘conceal carry’ or perhaps even consider hiring professional security help? These and other questions are covered so that you can begin the discussion with your church leadership.