All organizations, large and small, need to be on the lookout for violence as the number of shootings, especially at faith-based locations, has increased. Some congregations and individuals have considered utilizing armed security teams and weapons to protect everyone better. It takes time and careful planning to implement a plan that is effective and addresses the higher risk the presence of weapons creates. Take the following three steps as you evaluate your organization’s needs.
Determine if armed security is necessary
You might be quick to jump to armed security guards and weapons to ensure a safe environment, but they should not be used as an alternative to basic security procedures such as limiting times of entry and locking doors. You’ll need to balance the risk of having weapons on the premises with the need for armed guards. You may be liable for any injuries or incidents that occur from having weapons in use.
Create a path forward
An unarmed security team might be a more suitable option since it reduces risk. Encourage everyone to be on the lookout for strange behavior and alert everyone of potential dangers. If you decide to create or hire an armed security team, be advised that you’ll need to obtain a church insurance quote with additional liability. You generally have three different avenues you can travel down when looking for your security team. They are:
- Hire a private security firm to handle your security needs. They carry their liability insurance and can alleviate the burden on you. Verify that the contractor carries the risk and check that their employees are experienced and have completed legally required safety courses.
- Work with local law enforcement to watch over the premises. They are the most trained and equipped to do the job and will remain liable for incidents that occur.
- Assemble a group of volunteers. This is the riskiest option and most dangerous because volunteers aren’t as skilled or knowledgeable and create a larger risk than before.
Establish formal procedures and planning
Once you’ve decided the type of security team to implement, then you need to create a formal agreement to outline what you expect and will receive. All plans should include team requirements, spelled out standard operating procedures, adequate training, and know the design of the facility in-depth. Armed security teams may also have stricter qualifications, more extensive training, and greater responsibilities.