Sunday, December 23

Carl Chinn: "Think About It" Series

Evil Among us
By: Carl Chinn

I am angry, can’t sleep, and am literally sick to my stomach. My wife’s throat hurt Friday from screaming out in anguish as the horror out of Sandy Hook Elementary became news to the world.

How do we stop such evil? At what stage can we stop it?
  • Before it clutches the mind and soul of the attacker?
  • If not then, perhaps before it plays out on innocent victims?
  • If we can’t interrupt it before it starts, can we stop it short of its intended finish?
  • If it runs a full course in one scenario, can we prevent it from the same source in the next?
It is incumbent upon us as protection professionals to give due diligence to every one of those phases. The 4 questions above fit into the security concepts of prevention, preparation, response and recovery.

As we brace ourselves for this thing to turn political, as protection professionals we need to stay out of the passionate arguments. We observe the horror to harvest our own lessons learned, and to sharpen the saw of our own readiness.

Think About it:
  • Stand strong at your churches and ministries this week. Look into the eyes of those you protect and thank God for every one of them.
  • I have studied and dissected 255 attacks which resulted in the death of others at faith-based organizations since 1999. Of those 255 attacks, only a total of 24 were stopped in the process by others (12 by law enforcement, 12 by volunteers). The troubling statistic here is that 90.6% of the time, the attacker did not stop until they were ready to stop.
  • There is nothing like a gun in the hands of a defender to stop a gun in the hands of evil. I recall reading some of the criticisms in letters to the editor on our use of deadly force to stop the attacker at our church shooting in 2007. People actually suggested we should have used pepper spray. There really is a serious disconnect of reality in the minds of people who don’t understand evil – pure idiocy. That idiocy is observed in “gun-free zones”. We have to start fixing that issue. Gun free zones (like Sandy Hook Elementary) only provide a field of no resistance for evil. It is time we allow teachers, custodians, or any other workers who are willing to invest in training, and possess the character and desire of protection, to do so.
  • Outside teams take notice. At Sandy Hook, the attacker parked in a drop-off zone. He was dressed tactically, and forced his way inside. Watch those DLR’s! (for those of you who are new to reading my website; DLR = “Don’t Look Right”).
  • I thank you for your service of protection. Extend your thanks to those you serve with. Thank those in leadership for allowing you to serve in protection.
  • Thank God for allowing us to do our parts in the deterrence, detection, delay, denial and destruction of evil. May He enlarge our steps as we work towards success in the protection of the innocent.

Saturday, December 22

Louisville, KY Church Seeks Security After Threats

Louisville church receives threat: "I am going to kill you all, I am going to kill everyone of you"

From: WLKY News

LOUISVILLE, Ky. —A violent threat was made against a Louisville church that has been targeted before.

The threat was enough to make the church consider getting security, especially for Christmas services.

Now, the children's pastor is trying to get the person behind the threat arrested.

"He said, 'I'm going to kill you all. I'm going to kill every one of you,'" said pastor Joseph Vittito.

It was a threat that has Vittito and Tabernacle of David members on edge.

Church Security Training & Tips

Anthony Coppedge is a church technology consultant, speaker, and author with experience identifying strategies, building scalable systems and processes, and focusing efforts to stay true to the vision and DNA of an organization. He recently published an article on his blog featuring our friends Carl Chinn and Church Chadwick. I have included several of his points below, but encourage you to click on the link to view the full article.

From: Church Central Leadership Community

Church Safety & Security Tips

Many larger law enforcement agencies do not allow officers to serve as security volunteers when they are off-duty. However, extra-duty agreements are often an option with those agencies. There are often officers willing to serve from smaller jurisdictions in the region that do not have no-voluntary-service employment clauses.

Try to organize volunteers into two teams – odd & even – each of which serves only on the Sundays with odd or even dates. This way you don’t burn out volunteers, and they are able to attend service with their family every other Sunday. A few times a year (on months with 5 Sundays) they need to work two weekends in a row

CCTV (surveillance) systems not only deter crime and capture incidents, but verify what didn’t happen as well as (critical in false accusation cases).

Intrusion detection systems can be integrated with automated lighting controls. For example – when a door is forced, window broken or motion sensors are activated at night, all exterior building lights and the parking lot lights can come on. Lights always on can be almost as vulnerable as lights never on. But lights that come on due to some action catch the attention of both perps and night-time patrolling officers.

Pre-alarm covers on pull stations prevent most nuisance fire alarms. In addition, you may check with your fire alarm system provider regarding PAS (Positive Alarm Sequence) programming. This allows operations staff 180 seconds to investigate any alarm before the horns go off. The fire department will require evidence of effective staff training on fire alarms, which is a mandated benefit.

If you knew or should have known that a person had the potential and / or history of harming children, you may be liable. Beyond that man-made legal mandate is the far more important God-given order to look after those little ones with sincerity. When it comes to sexual predators – you won’t recognize them when you see them. Develop recurring background investigations for all volunteers and all staff regardless of whether their position is related to children, youth or vulnerable adults because all staff and volunteers will be around them in some way at some time. recommends IntelliCorp for background check screening. Use Promotional Code: SAC001when setting up an account. Click for IntelliCorp Website

A car broken into in a church parking lot is a serious issue. Police should always be notified instantly, as these thieves often take information from the vehicle registration to determine the home of the owner – drawing a conclusion that the home will be unguarded then, or at the same time in future weeks. In some cases, they take the garage door opener and before the investigation is over at the parking lot, they are already in the home. As a precaution, vehicle registration and other owner address information should be kept in a secure place in the vehicle.

Don’t re-invent the entire wheel when developing a security program. Local ordinances often require Shelter in Place, Emergency Action or Security Plans for schools. Police school resource officers will often share relative school district programs when asked.

Keep an incident log of medical emergencies, and quickly pass on the names of any persons treated for medical issues to pastoral staff for prompt personal follow-up ministry.

The best eyes on the audience are those of the announcer, Senior Pastor or Song Leader (depending on the time of service). When and of these folks see something that may need the attention of security, they can point with a unique gesture (not a normal gesture for them). To anyone in the audience, it simply looks like a normal speaking hand gesture. To those in security, you will know where to focus attention.

You can train receptionists to make an announcement to equally trained staff responders over the intercom system of “Tom Smith, you have a call on line 1” any time a situation is making her uncomfortable at the front lobby. Choose any name that is not someone working for you – it is an announcement requesting assistance. recommends ePainic Button as an easy an inexpensive solution to notifications during an emergency. Click for ePanic Button Website


There are two primary ways of security personnel identification – uniformed, or non-uniformed. Non-uniformed is preferred in almost all ministry environments. Should a significant incident develop, there will be a need for identification as first responders arrive – they must be able to distinguish between the good and bad human elements on scene. Badges are good, but in a high-adrenalin incident they won’t be seen. Following are some options;
Professional jackets that look like good usher jackets but have tactical pockets. In a security or emergency situation extra flaps are available out of the vest pocket and collar that identify SECURITY.
Undercover (non-uniformed) local, state and federal law enforcement agents have the same concern – other responding law enforcement to their scenes also may not recognize them as the “good side”. The most dangerous time for “blue on blue” shootings is after the assailant has been engaged or disabled and multiple responders are arriving on scene. A great resource (tool) is the DSM (don’t shoot me) pull-out banner available at


Check-In -
Register child in system
Print 2 tags/stickers and affix to Child and Parent
Check child into room

Check-Out -
Match parent tag with child tag upon Exit.

Pretty Simple, Right? Not so fast. What if you have to evacuate in the middle of the service? How will you reconcile all of the children to their parents? Did you make a list/log of the children as they entered the room that you could take with you outside in an evacuation? (Check-In step 3)

Here’s a pretty cool addition to a sticker system I saw implemented at one of our church clients; Instead of printing just TWO stickers; print THREE. Use the third sticker to stick on a classroom Log Book. Initial beside each sticker as the child is matched with the parent at the classroom door for checkout. If there is an emergency, take the log book/sheets with you. This is a list of children in the room and a way to check them out after the evacuation.

Risk & Vulnerability Assessments are critical as a first step in developing any security program. Law enforcement and insurance agencies both perform them without charge. It is good to modify one (after the first one done by others) to repeat annually to record progress and make certain nothing has slipped.

Friday, December 21

Update Church Shooting: Breaking News

Update: Associated Press Reports:
  • Member was fatally shot while decorating for a children's Christmas party
  • Shooting is 70 miles west of Harrisburg
  • Shots fired through the church hall's windows
  • Police say the gunman killed two other men at another location 
  • Gunman was fatally shot by state troopers
Click for Article

Church Shooting: Pennsylvania church shooting: Man Shoots, Kills Ex-Wife During Church Service

Note: I friend just emailed me about the church shooting at Juniata Valley Gospel Church. As I hit the Internet to look from the news article I noticed that there was another church shooting in Pennslyvania two week ago. Below is that article.

From: CBS News

COUDERSPORT, Pa. - An elementary school music teacher walked into a church in the middle of Sunday services and fatally shot his ex-wife as she sat in a pew, police said.

Gregory Eldred, 52, is charged with first-degree murder, simple assault, terroristic threats and reckless endangerment after allegedly shooting Darlene Sitler, 53, twice.

The shooting took place at the First United Presbyterian Church, where Sitler served as organist and choir director.

Click for More

Breaking News! Church Shooting, Pennsylvania, 4 Dead

From: CBS Pittsburgh

BLAIR COUNTY, Pa. (KDKA) — Emergency officials are on the scene of a deadly shooting in Frankstown Township, in Blair County.

Right now, sources tell KDKA-TV that four people are dead, and three Pennsylvania State Troopers were also hurt, but are expected to be okay.

Sources say at least part of the shooting took place at the Juniata Valley Gospel Church.

We Moved!

Over the last month I have been a little distracted. My family and I moved from Maryland to Virginia. Unfortunately, the big move has kept me away from the computer and updating my readers on important current events related to church security. 

Virginia is also the new location for 

Much has happened over the last month in the world of security. My telephone has been ringing constantly with churches concerned about their safety related to the tragity in Newtown, CT. If you have any questions please feel free to send me an email at