Church safety concerns addressed in Richmond

The deadly Boston Marathon bombing is the reason everyone is working to step up security, including in places of worship.

Today, dozens of pastors and church leaders joined to learn more about making safety a top priority at a forum hosted by the Richmond Police Department.

The focus was on staying prepared and aware.

Roughly, 150 people from churches all around the Richmond Metro area showed up to see how much they can tighten security.

And although church can be a place of refuge for many, police say that pastors should never let their guard down.

Steve Vaughan is a pastor at Second Branch Baptist Church in Chesterfield.

He tells me today's forum is the reason he plans to create a detailed security team.

"There are so many dynamics when you're talking about a church. We've got children, we've got a large number of people in the sanctuary when we're doing worship. We have people scattered across all of the building an we need some people in place who can be aware of what might be going on, " Vaughan said.

Speakers talked about topics from child safety to reacting to active shooter situations.

A recent church stabbing in New Mexico is still fresh in the mind of Pastor Vaughan.

"Wherever there is a large group of people together these a risk for some one who's mental capacity is a little bit low and they have the opportunity to make a large impact with a group of people, " said Vaughan.

"People are hearing a lot about stabbings, shootings and bombings. There is a whole host of things people should be considering. We really want people to adopt the mindset of an all-hazards type of approach because there are a lot of things that could occur, " said Captain John Hall.

That's why police encourage every church, big or small, to form a crisis-response team to prevent and respond to any emergency.

Police say it's a good idea to review your security plan every year to see what adjustments you can make.

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