Violence in churches is rare, but can be devastating when it occurs.
Recent tragedies include a shooting in November at a Texas church where 26 people were killed and a rampage in 2015 when nine were gunned down inside a church in Charleston, S.C.
The Arcade Police Department is hosting a seminar on safety and security measures for churches at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Arcade City Hall on Athens Highway. The seminar is free to any churches in the area.
“It’s to give churches a starting point because in the world we live in, you need to have a plan,” Arcade Police Chief Randy Williams said.
The program will offer information on several aspects of safety, including creating a security team, dealing with suspicious persons and laws regarding the carrying of firearms, according to Williams.
The seminar will be led by Jackson County Sheriff’s Training Officer Kevin McCook.
A similar program was conducted previously by the sheriff’s office, according to Jackson County Sheriff Janis Mangum.
“I put one on about three years ago after an incident in Hall County at a church where someone went in and was disrupting the church,” Mangum said.
“We had people attend from all surrounding counties, probably over 100 people,” she said.
“We feel like churches need to have a plan and we’ll give some pointers. Each church is different in size and attendance and they have to have their own safety plan,” Mangum said.
While shootings at churches are rare, the sheriff said more churches are developing a safety plan.
“You have to be prepared and know what to do if something occurs and heaven forbid if it does,” she said.