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MSP Offering Security Training for Places of Worship

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan State Police is offering a one-day training for clergy and others who are involved or may become involved in maintaining security at a church facility. The class will be held Thursday, Jan. 11 at the Crown Plaza Lansing – West. The cost is $100 and includes lunch and course materials. Registration may be completed online at michigan.gov/msp. The deadline to register is January 5.
First Lt. Kevin Caldwell said MSP has long been sensitive to the vulnerability of soft targets like places of worship. More than 2,500 people have attended the class, which covers several topics ranging from securing offering to conducting CPR until first responders arrive on scene. He said MSP is working to make the class available in the Flint/Genesee County area as well.
“We recognized a need and started offering the class seven years ago,” said Lt. Caldwell. “When it comes to keeping churches and parishioners safe, we can’t always do what we’ve always done,” he said.
The class provides education on legal options for church leadership and offers general suggestions such as locking entrance doors 15 minutes after service starts and organizing a second layer of greeters to observe activity once service has begun.
State Trooper Amy Belanger with MSP’s Flint post said church leaders should pay close attention to their building’s exterior. She said the law enforcement community has not identified a concrete profile of an active shooter. She said only fifty-five percent of active shooters have a direct connection to the community they target.
“Something as simple as keeping the landscaping up might deter an active shooter from targeting a church that looks well-kept versus a structure that looks un-kept from the outside. Neatly manicured lawns and landscaping sends a message that the church is organized and watchful,” said Trooper Belanger.
Belanger teaches a two-hour course on dealing with an active shooter. The class is available to groups of 10 or more. Interested groups may contact Trooper Belanger directly by email at belangera@michigan.gov or contact MSP District 3 Headquarters at 810-733-9380.

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