Rowan County churches form safety teams with help of local law enforcement

Published: Feb. 10, 2018 at 2:31 PM EST
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Safety teams are springing up at dozens of Rowan County churches.

On Saturday, the sheriff's office hosted a training workshop to help those growing teams prepare for potential problems, ranging from an individual medical emergency to an active shooter.

"Start thinking along the lines of what if," said Rowan County Sheriff Matt Sparks.

From security cameras, to a fully staffed safety team, the Better Life Church in Morehead appears to have a plan for every "what if" imaginable. Sheriff Sparks says it's the largest church in county, bringing in an around 1,000 attendees each Sunday.

However, Sparks also says the plans and precautions they have in place are useful everywhere, since threats like natural disasters, and violence, don't care how big your congregation is.

"Most churches in this county are smaller churches. We have churches with less than 40 or 50 people. Regardless of the size of your facility, it's that time, and a world we live in, where you need to be thinking about the safety of those attending," said Sparks.

Church leaders across the area gathered at the Better Life Church on Saturday to discuss those tips and tactics with police and deputies.

"Take it back to your church or organization and do some good with it," said Morehead Chief of Police Derrick Blevins.

While high-stake threats, like an active shooter, are on the radar of many security experts, officials say church safety teams also have to be ready for more common issues, like domestic disputes and child welfare.

"Procedures in place, so that a parent drops their child at Sunday school that particular morning, that someone doesn't pick that child up from that Sunday school whose not supposed to pick the child up," said Sparks.