Safety training available for local churches - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Safety training available for local churches

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

Church security is top of mind after recent shootings, but the training that can help respond to church violence has been around for a while and is available to any congregation that needs it.

"If you're prepared to not let it in the front door, then you stand a far better chance," said Paul Lee, Executive Director of Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers-USA. 

With nearly 30 years of law enforcement experience behind him, Paul Lee spends most of his time helping to train and prepare local churches for tragedy. 

In September, a gunman opened fire at a church in Antioch, Tennessee, killing one woman and wounding seven others. 

On Sunday, another attack inside a church in Texas killed 26 people, including 14 children.

READ MORE | Up to 14 children killed in Texas church massacre

"When you go into a movie theater, the first thing the movie tells you to do is look for the exit signs," said Paul Lee. "You're never told that in church and you should know where the exits are." 

Lee has hosted two "Sheepdog Safety Training" seminars in Chattanooga. The seminars help congregations develop safety plans. They are available to anyone and raise awareness about the variety of violent acts happening on church properties across the nation. From domestic assaults to robberies, stabbings and mass shootings, church members train to be prepared. 

"We had already surpassed deaths or we call them violent type deaths on church property this year from last year," said Lee. " We don't hear about it because a lot of times it's just an isolated incident. It might make a local news station, but it doesn't make national." 

Lee encourages every congregation to establish a security team, train with tourniquets and have handcuffs ready.

"Just what if , you know....  you would know what to do if the building caught on fire, you would know exactly what you would do," said Lee. " So what would you do if somebody came in here and started shooting or stabbing or something like that? What would you do? " 

Lee is planing to host another Sheepdog Training Seminar in March and as part of that training, congregations also learn how to spot signs of trouble and know when to speak up and call police. 

Call (423) 553-8806 to learn more about how you can get involved or click here.

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