Non-profit Security team advice/questions?

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woodsghost
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Re: Non-profit Security team advice/questions?

Post by woodsghost » Sat Jan 18, 2020 6:36 pm

I got to go to a regional church security conference today. Different faiths were invited, but only Christians showed up.

One theme which came up at this conference and the other conference I attended was the need to deal with gaps in the Continuum of Force. Specifically, most security teams have "chat with suspicious people or give them dirty looks" and then the next option is "lethal force." But between those two points is a real need to have response options for different situations which require more than a dirty look and haven't yet crossed into needing lethal force. This can be chemical/pepper spray, stun guns, and hands-on/physical force. Some discussion revolved around whether the recent Texas shooting could have been prevented if people had been more willing to act faster and whether we might act faster if we have non-lethal options at hand. Certainly worth considering.

Communications were discussed a lot. Of course, radios and cell phones are natural defaults. Radios are never secure and never private. They are a great way to have a 1 to many conversation. Few church security people feel like getting ear pieces and carrying private or corporate owned radios and most churches don't want the radios squawking during services. Phones are a natural alternative which are private and frequently carried on one's person. Not everyone has s smart phone though, so if you have some of those folks on your security team, you get to figure that one out. Some apps which received high praise and are frequently used were GroupMe and Zello (as of 1/16/2020). Youth ministry leaders should also be looped in so they can be kept abreast of potential problems for the children. Particularly if estranged spouses/significant others show up seeking to kidnap the children.

A lot of discussion was given to the need for regional communication. It has been noted there are a number of individuals who frequently disturb churches or pray on members or the organization in various ways before being evicted. This can be emotional/financial/sexual and can be aimed at children, adults, and the elderly. These individuals frequently bounce from church to church, and regional communication is needed to coordinate mutual protection or, in some cases with mentally ill people, coordinate responses between churches and any State/familial caretakers of the mentally ill person. This information should be kept off social media, as there is some suing going on over posting in the wrong place. But sharing between team members and between churches is generally fine if not done maliciously.

One thing which came up and was personally interesting was the need to be aware of cultural differences in security needs. One local church is highly "international" and has had frequent experiences with other internationals coming in and casting spells, casting hexes, putting curses on people and the building, leaving cursed objects around the building, disrupting the preacher, and poising the food at communal church meals. So while I mentioned in a post further above that "most threats will come from domestic disputes" I am, frankly, limited in cultural context. Given the events at synagogues in New York I have read about, and the experiences of this other local church, I have to say different faiths, and same faith groups from different cultures, can experience radically different threats.

There was a discussion of the tension between responding to people who seem odd and the need to live out a real faith in our deity. Quite frankly, a number of people feel that "threats" need to be stopped at the door and kept away from the general population. Another portion feel "we are called by our God to reach out to those who are marginalized and need to be taken care of." One honest and heartfelt example was a security member who dealt with a guy who was homeless and out of place at the church. The security guy stuck with the homeless man, watched him carefully, and kept that sheep dog posture over the potential threat to the group. Mission Accomplished and high fives all around! Later in the week the body of the homeless man was found as he had frozen to death in town. The security guy was honestly questioning his decisions and whether he had lived out his sincere faith. That is something every member of a church security team is going to need to face and resolve if they attempt to sincerely live out a Christian faith. Mileage for other faiths may differ. I won't pretend to know how other faiths might come down on that issue.

I have dealt with a number of mentally ill people coming to church in various states of sobriety and mental clarity. My own choice has been to engage, to care for the individual, to listen very carefully and sincerely, and to show as much care and compassion as I safely can. I have engaged other members of the congregation to assist me when I needed to go off campus to assist and care for people. Also, I have always been ready to use whatever force was necessary to keep myself and those I am responsible for protected. I have been ready to use that force in a heartbeat. People seem to think you hold 1 view or the other towards others. I believe you can both be compassionate and protective at once. But some of that probably comes from having a continuum of response options and being in generally good health.

One thing which got discussed is a concern over backpacks and other larger bags people might bring into a church. Occasionally security teams in the area have found weapons in them, including an AR-15 on an individual attempting to get to an upper balcony area of a church. Always feel free to insist a backpack or messenger bag be left in a vehicle. Trench coats should also be watched carefully.

A great resource for those in the Christian faith looking to get more on the ball is the Faith Based Security Network or FBSN. This is a membership based organization and will require some level of background checking and vetting. This is not open to everyone. So far it seems focused more towards the needs of churches with 500+ members. Given that 50% of churches in America have less than 100 people, the organization does not perfectly meet the needs of every congregation, but it is still useful and something to consider.

Again, I said this in an earlier post, but churches of different sizes will face different common threats. Security teams can vary widely in size too. In one case, the "security team" was a lone lady weighing all of 110 lbs, if I am not mistaken. And as stated in an earlier post, many churches are not comfortable with armed security, but non-lethal options can be more acceptable for many churches, and in my experience, not every security team member is interested in being armed. As one member of my former team said, "I left my old country to escape violence. Why would I arm myself here?" But he felt the need to assist with security and was probably one of the best at spotting potential trouble. And people just make their choices and live with them.

The recent Texas shooting was discussed quite a bit, and among the things which stood out to me is the threat of normalcy bias. The shooter had been tagged as a potential trouble spot as soon as he had entered the church, but then proceeded to come in and leave multiple times. The 3rd time he got up was when he shot 2 men and attempted more. When someone has behaved erratically multiple times it is easy to become complacent. Apparently he was wearing a fake beard and wig, behaved oddly, and yes, every security team member was "switched on" regarding him. But once we see a human act and no violence happens, we run the risk of becoming complacent.

It is also important, if people are depending on you to protect them, that you TAKE YOUR JOB SERIOUSLY. This includes 1) getting good gear which will allow you to draw quickly and confidently and 2) practice doing this from various positions you might find yourself in when posting security, and finally 3) practice with the gear you intend to use while on security. If you use a G17 or 92F at the range because you shoot good groups and then carry a LCP because it is easy and convenient, you are at risk of being overconfident and under prepared. You run a real risk of getting shot when a bad situation comes up. If you cannot access your weapon quickly because it is in a weird but comfortable position, or because you are using a $20 holster with Velcro retention, you might very well get shot when called upon to actually get your "protection" on. (and just to be clear, I don't mean condoms)

If you can, I would get a folding metal chair out to a range or to a friend's place and practice putting rounds on target with your actual CCW and carry holster, with your holster in the position it would be if you had to engage a threat. I would also video tape yourself and count the seconds it takes you to make a shot at 7 yards and probably at 15 yards (or use a shot timer if you have one). Make it in less than 3 seconds. Practice until you make it, then keep practicing. Just my opinion. But your life may depend on it and whether you train or not, you can get a one way ticket to the after-life. Ultimately, "Life" is 100% fatal, but you can choose how seriously you take your Protection responsibilities. Damn, I'm starting to sound like those Lightfighter guys. But this stuff is serious. Yeah, it was serious before, but like I said in an earlier post, watching a couple guys get killed makes it just a bit more serious.

Also, just my opinion, a good double action first shot/all shots weapon should be carried so that different carry options will be safer. And then practice so that double action shot can be made quickly and accurately. Dry fire is cheap and can be done when hanging out in the home and reinforced at the range.
*Remember: I'm just a guy on the internet :)
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“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” -Bilbo Baggins.

drop bear
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Re: Non-profit Security team advice/questions?

Post by drop bear » Sun Jan 19, 2020 2:24 pm

woodsghost wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 6:36 pm
I got to go to a regional church security conference today. Different faiths were invited, but only Christians showed up.

One theme which came up at this conference and the other conference I attended was the need to deal with gaps in the Continuum of Force. Specifically, most security teams have "chat with suspicious people or give them dirty looks" and then the next option is "lethal force." But between those two points is a real need to have response options for different situations which require more than a dirty look and haven't yet crossed into needing lethal force. This can be chemical/pepper spray, stun guns, and hands-on/physical force. Some discussion revolved around whether the recent Texas shooting could have been prevented if people had been more willing to act faster and whether we might act faster if we have non-lethal options at hand. Certainly worth considering.

Communications were discussed a lot. Of course, radios and cell phones are natural defaults. Radios are never secure and never private. They are a great way to have a 1 to many conversation. Few church security people feel like getting ear pieces and carrying private or corporate owned radios and most churches don't want the radios squawking during services. Phones are a natural alternative which are private and frequently carried on one's person. Not everyone has s smart phone though, so if you have some of those folks on your security team, you get to figure that one out. Some apps which received high praise and are frequently used were GroupMe and Zello (as of 1/16/2020). Youth ministry leaders should also be looped in so they can be kept abreast of potential problems for the children. Particularly if estranged spouses/significant others show up seeking to kidnap the children.

A lot of discussion was given to the need for regional communication. It has been noted there are a number of individuals who frequently disturb churches or pray on members or the organization in various ways before being evicted. This can be emotional/financial/sexual and can be aimed at children, adults, and the elderly. These individuals frequently bounce from church to church, and regional communication is needed to coordinate mutual protection or, in some cases with mentally ill people, coordinate responses between churches and any State/familial caretakers of the mentally ill person. This information should be kept off social media, as there is some suing going on over posting in the wrong place. But sharing between team members and between churches is generally fine if not done maliciously.

One thing which came up and was personally interesting was the need to be aware of cultural differences in security needs. One local church is highly "international" and has had frequent experiences with other internationals coming in and casting spells, casting hexes, putting curses on people and the building, leaving cursed objects around the building, disrupting the preacher, and poising the food at communal church meals. So while I mentioned in a post further above that "most threats will come from domestic disputes" I am, frankly, limited in cultural context. Given the events at synagogues in New York I have read about, and the experiences of this other local church, I have to say different faiths, and same faith groups from different cultures, can experience radically different threats.

There was a discussion of the tension between responding to people who seem odd and the need to live out a real faith in our deity. Quite frankly, a number of people feel that "threats" need to be stopped at the door and kept away from the general population. Another portion feel "we are called by our God to reach out to those who are marginalized and need to be taken care of." One honest and heartfelt example was a security member who dealt with a guy who was homeless and out of place at the church. The security guy stuck with the homeless man, watched him carefully, and kept that sheep dog posture over the potential threat to the group. Mission Accomplished and high fives all around! Later in the week the body of the homeless man was found as he had frozen to death in town. The security guy was honestly questioning his decisions and whether he had lived out his sincere faith. That is something every member of a church security team is going to need to face and resolve if they attempt to sincerely live out a Christian faith. Mileage for other faiths may differ. I won't pretend to know how other faiths might come down on that issue.

I have dealt with a number of mentally ill people coming to church in various states of sobriety and mental clarity. My own choice has been to engage, to care for the individual, to listen very carefully and sincerely, and to show as much care and compassion as I safely can. I have engaged other members of the congregation to assist me when I needed to go off campus to assist and care for people. Also, I have always been ready to use whatever force was necessary to keep myself and those I am responsible for protected. I have been ready to use that force in a heartbeat. People seem to think you hold 1 view or the other towards others. I believe you can both be compassionate and protective at once. But some of that probably comes from having a continuum of response options and being in generally good health.

One thing which got discussed is a concern over backpacks and other larger bags people might bring into a church. Occasionally security teams in the area have found weapons in them, including an AR-15 on an individual attempting to get to an upper balcony area of a church. Always feel free to insist a backpack or messenger bag be left in a vehicle. Trench coats should also be watched carefully.

A great resource for those in the Christian faith looking to get more on the ball is the Faith Based Security Network or FBSN. This is a membership based organization and will require some level of background checking and vetting. This is not open to everyone. So far it seems focused more towards the needs of churches with 500+ members. Given that 50% of churches in America have less than 100 people, the organization does not perfectly meet the needs of every congregation, but it is still useful and something to consider.

Again, I said this in an earlier post, but churches of different sizes will face different common threats. Security teams can vary widely in size too. In one case, the "security team" was a lone lady weighing all of 110 lbs, if I am not mistaken. And as stated in an earlier post, many churches are not comfortable with armed security, but non-lethal options can be more acceptable for many churches, and in my experience, not every security team member is interested in being armed. As one member of my former team said, "I left my old country to escape violence. Why would I arm myself here?" But he felt the need to assist with security and was probably one of the best at spotting potential trouble. And people just make their choices and live with them.

The recent Texas shooting was discussed quite a bit, and among the things which stood out to me is the threat of normalcy bias. The shooter had been tagged as a potential trouble spot as soon as he had entered the church, but then proceeded to come in and leave multiple times. The 3rd time he got up was when he shot 2 men and attempted more. When someone has behaved erratically multiple times it is easy to become complacent. Apparently he was wearing a fake beard and wig, behaved oddly, and yes, every security team member was "switched on" regarding him. But once we see a human act and no violence happens, we run the risk of becoming complacent.

It is also important, if people are depending on you to protect them, that you TAKE YOUR JOB SERIOUSLY. This includes 1) getting good gear which will allow you to draw quickly and confidently and 2) practice doing this from various positions you might find yourself in when posting security, and finally 3) practice with the gear you intend to use while on security. If you use a G17 or 92F at the range because you shoot good groups and then carry a LCP because it is easy and convenient, you are at risk of being overconfident and under prepared. You run a real risk of getting shot when a bad situation comes up. If you cannot access your weapon quickly because it is in a weird but comfortable position, or because you are using a $20 holster with Velcro retention, you might very well get shot when called upon to actually get your "protection" on. (and just to be clear, I don't mean condoms)

If you can, I would get a folding metal chair out to a range or to a friend's place and practice putting rounds on target with your actual CCW and carry holster, with your holster in the position it would be if you had to engage a threat. I would also video tape yourself and count the seconds it takes you to make a shot at 7 yards and probably at 15 yards (or use a shot timer if you have one). Make it in less than 3 seconds. Practice until you make it, then keep practicing. Just my opinion. But your life may depend on it and whether you train or not, you can get a one way ticket to the after-life. Ultimately, "Life" is 100% fatal, but you can choose how seriously you take your Protection responsibilities. Damn, I'm starting to sound like those Lightfighter guys. But this stuff is serious. Yeah, it was serious before, but like I said in an earlier post, watching a couple guys get killed makes it just a bit more serious.

Also, just my opinion, a good double action first shot/all shots weapon should be carried so that different carry options will be safer. And then practice so that double action shot can be made quickly and accurately. Dry fire is cheap and can be done when hanging out in the home and reinforced at the range.
Back in the 80s pubs used to have a series of lights. Just colored globes on a wall somewhere. So when a particular light went on you could tell there was trouble at a specific bar.

Something like that could potentially work.

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raptor
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Re: Non-profit Security team advice/questions?

Post by raptor » Sun Jan 19, 2020 4:54 pm

This is a great write up! Thank you.

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Re: Non-profit Security team advice/questions?

Post by darmstrong » Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:17 am

I'm a member of my local congregation's security team. One role that I find incredibly important is the greeter. Our greeters are members of the security team, but you'd never know that. They provide a friendly face for those entering, but immediately contact another member of the security team is there is a potential problem. We've had elderly couples who don't carry, but they have good eyes and ears and can spot when something is out of the ordinary.
In order to succeed you must first survive.

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