Wednesday, June 30

Church Security at the Vatican

Today I have a very special and unique opportunity. My wife and I have been spending the last week celebrating her birthday on a Mediterranean cruise. Today we ported into Civitavecchia, which is about 1 hour outside of Rome. Through several contacts that I have had to privilege to make, I have been able to arrange a tour of the Vatican. I have worked in the United States with Vatican authorities during one of the Pope’s visits to Washington; however this will be extremely different experiencing it first hand in their country. This will be an honor and exciting experience to see how Church Security is preformed at one of the most powerful religious locations in the world.

Sunday, June 27

Church of Prayer or Church of Prey?

St. Petersburg, Florida - "A church is a house of prayer, but a volunteer at Northside Baptist may have made it a house of prey...St. Petersburg police arrested Stephen Greeley, 40, Wednesday morning. They say he sexually molested a young boy who he met at the church. He was a friend of the victim's parents."

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Pastor Timothy Kroll says, the church takes steps to protect children. They do background checks, all classrooms have windows and there's a "two adults rule" for those working with kids. "We say the safety of children is one of our top priorities," says Kroll."

I was grateful to read that this church follows two of my rules for children's programs. They do background checks and have a two person rule for children. Look for future posts to talk more about these principles. 

Friday, June 25

"At first, the master key to the New Birth Baptist Church was missing.

Then, an iPhone, iPad and other random items – more than $1,300 worth – were taken from Bishop Eddie Long’s office.

The incident happened on June 13, according to a DeKalb police report obtained by the AJC. A security camera at the church on Woodrow Road in Lithonia caught most of it on videotape."

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This article is very fitting for me today. Yesterday was the launch of the new Apple iPhone-4. I decided to try to be one of those crazy guys and go early in the morning to get one. I was planning on meeting a friend about 45 minutes from my house to wait together. At 2:30am I received a text message from him telling me that there were already over 60 people in line at that location. Knowing I still had another 30 minutes to drive, I quickly changed my mind and got off at the next exit that had an Apple Store. I arrived to the Mall at 2:45am and was surprised that there was already 30 people in front of me waiting to get into the mall.  What I didn't know is that on the other side of the mall there were also hundreds of people waiting to get in as well. At 6:00am they decided to let 10 people at a time from each group, rotating back and forth. Once inside the mall two lines were formed. One for people who had pre-ordered the phone and one line for people like me who had not. The manager came out of the store and explained to use that all the people that pre-ordered the phone would have first priority in receiving them. 14 long hours later I left the mall with two iPhone 4's. This was a personal test of determination!

Thursday, June 24

Church Burglar Leaves Birth Certificate

After reading this article I have decided to start a dumb criminal award for this blog. To date this is the winner!

YORK, Pa. — "Police said a man who stole petty cash from a central Pennsylvania church is in custody after leaving his birth certificate behind when he left. Authorities said 28-year-old Allen Larry Dawes has been extradited to York County to faces charges after being arrested earlier this month in New Jersey."

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Monday, June 21

20% Promo Code for Vigilance

The Vigilance Church Security Conference is only one month away. This is a great opportunity to come and hear from the countries leading professionals on the topic. Visit the website for more information or to register. 

In an effort to help promote this event is offering a 20% off promotion code for all new registrations. Don't risk missing this opportunity!!

20% OFF Promotion code: “shepherd"

Information and Registration:

Sunday, June 20

$1 Million Dollars Stolen From Church

"A Catholic priest in Waterbury is accused of illegally taking $1 million from his parish for his personal use. Rev. Kevin Gray of Sacred Heart Church is now being investigated by the police.

The Archdiocese of Hartford made the discovery after reviewing the church's finances. The Archdiocese claims Rev. Gray took the money over a seven-year period, his entire time serving at Sacred Heart."

Saturday, June 19

Basic Guidelines for Church Security

Basic Guidelines for Church Security
By Wally Baskovich, Church Security Ministries
Here are a few guidelines regarding basic church security:
·         Intervene at the target-area the moment of the confrontation to assist the primary security team member.
·         Apply Counter-Measures by putting the assailant under submission as the circumstances demand, such as: Applying wrist or arm locking techniques, utilizing takedown maneuvers, or by applying a mechanical restraint device.
·         Insure the situation is Under Control and that peace is being established.
THE BIG THREE: (during any altercation) -
·         Separate your pastor from the threat.
·         Evacuate the pastor to a secured area and disperse the crowd that’s in the immediate area.
·         Contain the situation by utilizing:
a)      Verbal de-escalation tactics (reasoning), and,
b)      Physical means (takedown and restraining techniques) and/or mechanical restraints.  

Wednesday, June 16

Louisiana Church Gun Bill Back on Table Again!

"BATON ROUGE -- The Senate revived legislation Tuesday that would allow congregants to carry concealed weapons on church property as part of a security force.

Senators voted 22-9 for the heavily amended House Bill 1272 by Rep. Henry Burns, R-Haughton, sending it back to the House for another vote.

Officials of the religious institution must notify congregants of the security plan and that concealed weapons are being carried. The information must be publicly announced or published in a newsletter or bulletin.

The amended bill would prohibit carrying weapons into a church on school property, and would require eight hours of annual tactical training as well as passing the concealed weapons course and background checks for the armed members."

Tuesday, June 15

I am Back

Sorry for the sudden holt of this blog last week. I Had to take a last minute trip down to the Gulf Coast in relation to the oil spill and was unable to update the blog while I was gone. 

This catastrophe in the Gulf should serve as a reminder to all of us to review our emergency plans that are in place at our church. What would we do in the event of an environmental catastrophe? Some examples could be a hurricane, tornado, oil spill, earthquake, or large snow/ice storm. 

Wednesday, June 9

Louisiana Gun Bill Dies in Senate

BATON ROUGE, La., June 8 (UPI) -- "Louisiana legislation that would have allowed people to carry guns into churches as an unofficial security force died in committee Tuesday, officials said...The bill would have authorized whoever is in charge of a house of worship -- a church, synagogue, mosque or other such facility -- to name individuals who are qualified to carry the weapons, the Times-Picayune said."

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Monday, June 7

Woman Beaten to Death inside of Church

"An 80-year-old woman was found dead inside Central United Methodist Church in Wynne, Ark...Wilson was at the church Sunday to pick up disaster relief buckets to take to another church, said church members. A person or persons came in, beat her to death and took her car, a silver Grand Marquis. "

Sunday, June 6

Boy Stabbed Sunday in CHurch Parking Lot

WEST VALLEY CITY -- "A teenage boy was stabbed nearly a dozen times Sunday morning in an LDS Church parking lot.

West Valley City police Sgt. Paul Gill says the stabbing happened around 5 a.m. on the north side of the church at 3450 S. 6400 West. The 16-year-old was able to drag himself away from the scene of the crime, but collapsed a block later."

Saturday, June 5

Church Break-In Chapel Hill, NC

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — "Authorities are investigating after the Lighthouse Baptist Church at 12063 U.S. Highway 15/501 in Chapel Hill was vandalized overnight Friday...Satanic and obscene messages were sprayed on the church's walls, hymn books were destroyed and windows were broken during the break-in...Authorities said the suspect, or suspects, likely broke into the church through a back window. The church did not have an alarm system or security cameras, Hall said."

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Note the last line in the above quote: " The church did not have an alarm system or security cameras"

Friday, June 4

ICE – In Case of Emergency

After work today my cell phone began to ring. My wife looked over onto the end table where it was located and noticed that the display on the phone read, “ICE – Parent”. Not understanding what that meant she asked me to explain why I labeled the contact that way. Several years’ back there was a national initiative called “ICE”. The purpose behind this initiative was to get people to list different emergency contacts in their cell phone as “ICE Contacts”.  In the event of an emergency a responder could look at the contacts in your cell phone and know who you wanted to contact “In Case of an Emergency”.

This serves as a good reminder to those who may have forgotten about this program. If this is the first time that you have ever heard about this initiative take a few minutes right now and add the word ICE in front of one or more contacts that you would like to be used in case of an emergency. 

Thursday, June 3

Churches Scramble to Meet FCC Rules on Wireless Microphones

WASHINGTON — "American churches have less than two weeks to change their wireless microphone equipment or face more than $100,000 in fines.

In January, the Federal Communications Commission mandated that anyone using wireless microphones on the 700 MHz band must stop by June 12 in order to make room for use by police, fire and emergency services.

An unlicensed person or business — which includes churches — using microphones on frequencies between 698 and 806 MHz must stop or face action by the FCC. Violators could face up to $112,500 in fines or imprisonment for continued violation, according to the FCC. Violations will be handled on a case-by-case basis."

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Wednesday, June 2

Over $100K Stolen for Boston Church

LOWELL, Mass.—A Tyngsborough woman once responsible for counting the collections at a Roman Catholic church has been charged with skimming more than $100,000 from the donations.

When talking with churches abut this issue I always recommend that they use the two person rule. This rule states that you always have two people in control of church offerings at all times. From the moment it is collected to the time it gets deposited into the bank, two people should be accountable for it. As soon as the money is collected it should be counted, then stored securely until it can be deposited. Two people should initially independently count the money to insure that they obtain the same number. When the money is deposited into the bank the deposit slip should match the recorded amount of money counted by both individuals. 

Tuesday, June 1

Fugitive Safe Surrender at your local Church

"In mid-June, if you're wanted on a crime, you can turn yourself in to the cops in a church. Baltimore is the latest of several cities, including Washington, to embrace Operation Safe Surrender...It's open to people wanted on nonviolent misdemeanors and felonies who want to clear their name without ending up in handcuffs. In return for your surrender, prosecutors say they will do what they can, within reason, to keep you out of prison."

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According to the U.S. Marshal Service, "Fugitive Safe Surrender is a unique, creative, and highly successful, initiative that encourages persons wanted for non-violent felony or misdemeanor crimes to voluntarily surrender to the law in a faith-based or other neutral setting."

Each city has selected one or more specific churches to participate. This program only runs for a limited time. It most locations the time frame was limited to one particular week. Here is my concern with this program. As the word gets out among the criminal community the chances of convicted criminals randomly showing up your place of worship increases. Do you remember that game called "telephone" that you played as a child? The same principle of that game holds true with this initiative. Over time criminals are going to think that they can just come to any church and turn themselves in. May times these people are emotionally disturbed and confused, which results in an unsafe environment for you. The Fugitive Safe Surrender programs has procedures in place to deal with these concerns; however, if a criminal showed up to a church not partaking in the program then they may be caught off guard and left to hand the situation on their own. 

Regardless of whether or not your church is participating in Fugitive Safe Surrender you should be aware of this program incase someone shows up to your church.

Here is a list of some of the participating locations: 

Akron, Ohio                                   Camden, New Jersey
Cleveland, Ohio                             Columbia, South Carolina
Detroit, Michigan                            Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Indianapolis, Indiana                       Memphis, Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee                     Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Phoenix, Arizona                            Rochester, New York
Washington D.C.                            Wilmington, Delaware

Baltimore, Maryland