Police plan to hold church security forum - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Police plan to hold church security forum

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Police are using the New Mexico church stabbing as an example encouraging local church leaders to prepare for the worst.

Pastor Anthony chandler makes a point to keep a security team on hand during every service. He says he wants to be prepared, because a calm worship service can turn chaotic in a matter of seconds.

Roughly 2,000 people fill the pews of Cedar Street Baptist Church every Sunday. 

Pastor Anthony Chandler wants parishioners to feel they can worship in peace. He has a full trained security team to help prevent tragedies similar to the Albuquerque church stabbing over the weekend. 

His church had a minor scare last week. Chandler says a member approached the pulpit in the middle of the sermon causing some concern.  

"We'll have a capable group of church leaders, deacons - we have ministers who are prepared," said Pastor Chandler. "We also have a security team that will step in and intervene.  "In this case it was one of our ministers who stepped in because the minister knew this person needed special attention." 

Leaders were able to pull him aside and no one was hurt. Richmond Police officer Kimberly McClarin is organizing a forum to offer safety tips and security plans for places of worship. Some topics include: how to respond to an active shooter, building security, and the handling of money. 

"We will just share with you tools and resources so that a place of worship can develop its own plan of action or protocol of something was to happen," said McClarin.  

Pastor Chandler works closely with police, and part of his security team will attend the forum. Officer McClarin hopes the New Mexico tragedy will encourage other places of worship to re-evaluate and even tighten their security plans.  

"I think people may let their guards down but I think others on the outside might think we're not prepared but we are prepared to deal with any type of adversity,"

Anyone is welcome to attend the safety forum this weekend. It will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday at the Richmond Police Training Academy at 1202 W. Graham Road. People can pre-register by calling 646-6754.

Copyright 2013 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.

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