Saginaw Twp. Police teach local churches how to prevent tragedy - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Saginaw Twp. Police teach local churches how to prevent tragedy

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SAGINAW TOWNSHIP (WJRT) - (06/04/14) - Saginaw Township Police are warning faith leaders to remember that their church could be a target for tragedy.

Wednesday night, they held a 'Security for Places of Worship' seminar with area churches.

They say with the recent trend in mass shootings, not even a church is sacred when it comes to crime.

"One of the areas we've seen as being vulnerable are churches," said Henry Reyna, with the Saginaw Twp. Police Department.

Generally, a church doesn't want to keep you out; they want you to feel welcome and loved inside their walls. However, that's where Saginaw Township Police say things can get dicey.

"We've seen acts of violence around the country at workplaces, now we're seeing violence spill out into churches," Reyna said.

They pointed out examples of violence in churches across the country and offered suggestions to keep local places of worship safe.

"We already do a lot of this stuff, we're getting a lot new ideas," said John Whelton, with Ascension Lutheran Church in Thomas Township.

Some of those ideas are making sure all doorways are clearly visible from the road, so trouble-makers won't be hidden while breaking in.

Also, keep the doors locked when nothing specific is happening and offer a buzzer-system so people can still come and go.

"This is a time to let us know we have to keep our guards up and be watchful," said Pastor Robert Davis Jr., with Christ Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Saginaw.

A church seems like the last place you'd have to worry about something like this, but police also suggest making plans for every scenario, whether it's a bomb threat or a toxic tanker spill outside.

"That's one thing were going to take back is doing a risk assessment," Whelton said.

They also talked about doing background checks for nonprofit volunteers and keeping an eye on finances for possible embezzling schemes.
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