Florida organization shares tips for keeping churches safe
VENICE - Wednesday's church safety seminar was highlighted with phrases like building a safety team, threat profiling, and how to identify warning signs. Jim Howard is with Florida-based Trinity Security Allies.
"As we said there's three types of people that come into our church - there are those who come to worship and we know who they are right off the bat. There are those who are hurting that are one step away from doing something they may regret for the rest of their life, and, then, of course there's the wolf in sheep clothing," Jim Howard said.
Howard also introduced a tactic that church-goers can use to be mindful for suspicious activity.
"When a person pushes away from a person because they just said something that made them feel uneasy so we have these types of things that we teach them that once they start paying attention to it, they can see trouble before it happens," Howard said.
The Venice Police Department wants residents to be able to count on them any time they celebrate a religious service.
"We want to partner with our churches just to make sure that they are doing everything possible to be able to recognize that threat and how to react to that threat properly," Venice Police Chief Tom Mattmuller said.
With the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre occurring less than three months ago, a local pastor doesn't want people to feel like tragedy can't strike in the Sun Coast.
"Very timely information for the situation that we're in. We would never be saying that this could never happen in Venice. I'm really glad to be able to attend and thankful for the Venice Police Department for providing this information for all of the houses of worship in this area," Holy Spirit Orthodox Church's Fr. Stephen Laurie said.