In reaction to the reality of shootings, in places of worship, businesses and schools, a Geneseo, Ill., pastor is inviting security personnel, from area churches and businesses to a security training session at his church.
Rev. David Murphy, a pastor at First Baptist, is spearheading the training effort. Detective Mike Chavez, of the Geneseo Police Department, will lead the session.
“It seems that over the last decade or two, there has been an increase in violence with mass shootings. The motives vary for such crimes — race, religion, retaliation or just rage,” Murphy said.
Officer Chavez will outline the signs to look for in a possible shooter. ”We also will discuss procedures for church leaders to go over with their parishioners if a shooter makes entry into the facility.”
The session will include information on how to respond to the shooter and notify law enforcement during the crisis.
“In conclusion, we will discuss how law enforcement will respond and the effects the event will have on the rest of the community,” Chavez said.
The training will be at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 25, at First Baptist Church, 15300 Ford Road, in Geneseo. For more information, call 309-944-3735.
Murphy said he is hoping that the upcoming training will provide an opportunity to think through questions dealing with security, “and at the same time remain welcoming and open to worshipers.”
Having had an inner-city ministry in Long Beach, Calif., for 25 years prior to his call to the Geneseo church, violence is not new to Murphy.
“We had people who came into our church who were intoxicated or high on drugs, homeless, thieves, vandals, child custody cases, and those who suffered from PTSD or other emotional/mental disorders,” he said.
“Although Geneseo is a different place than inner-city Long Beach, we would be foolish to think that someone wanting to do harm to people could never come to a place like this,” Murphy said. “Because we live in a different world than what we grew up in, it is wise for us to take precautions in order to deter crime and to protect people.”
“Our police department is actively involved in our community and has agreed to come to First Baptist to help train our security personnel,” he said. “We extend our invitation to any and all churches or businesses who would like to have security training in facing violent people wanting to do harm to others.”