Tragedies at churches have brought security increases

Tragedies at churches have brought security increases

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - A deadly shooting at a church in Tennessee brought to light the amount of security that can be necessary at places of worship.

The pastor of Lawton First Assembly said he hates seeing things like this weekend's shooting happen, but said, unfortunately, this is the world we live in now, meaning they have to take extra security steps to make sure everyone looking to worship can do so safely.

Senior Associate Pastor Gary Pratt said he has spent his entire life working in the church and pastors now deal with problems that pastors of the past likely never could have even imagined.

"All you have to do is go back and look at the church shooting's we've had," Pratt said. "I think one of the reasons that churches have always been vulnerable to that is because we never worried about security, but it is a concern now. It has ramped up what the churches are doing now to the point that you need well trained people on your campus that can handle an emergency situation."

Pratt said at Lawton First Assembly, they have more than 2,000 people come through their doors every Sunday. Because of that, they have a complex security system that starts with help from the Comanche County Sheriff's Department, who sends a deputy to the church every Sunday.

"We do that for a couple reasons, for one they're well trained in what they do but it also provides us with a direct line in getting other security here if we need it. We don't have to go through someone else to do that. If they're on location, if we need other assistance here we know we're going to get that here quickly," Pratt said.

Pratt said there are also cameras all over the building that are recording 24/7. On top of that, there are other trained security members in the building that he said he doesn't want to go into too much detail about, so as to not give any potential threats too much information.

"But I will say these people are highly trained, in fact every three months they go through more training. Many of them are CLEET certified and they are very good at what they do. We do have that presence on our campus also," Pratt said.

Pratt said they can also run into a problem of having too much security. He said they try to have everyone see the security and feel safe and comfortable to worship but also not feel overwhelmed, threatened or that their every step is being watched.

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