Lexington, SC (WLTX) - The Lexington Police Department held their church security training Wednesday and had a bigger turnout than they expected.
Lexington Police were expecting about 20 people, but more than double that showed up. The turnout for the Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships webinar speaks to the demand for security in our places of worship.
"As I was sitting here in the webinar I was thinking about the building, blind spots, if somebody was to come in the church and try to do harm what would be the escape routes," says Pastor James Murray from God's Church of Destiny. "Those who want to do harm who want to hurt our values and our mission need to understand that they're not attacking a local church they are attacking the church".
Pastor Murray says the biggest takeaway is that area faith leaders need to be united.
"The challenge for us as pastors is that we don't want to have an environment of fear but we also want to have an environment of safety" he says.
An environment of safety that Lexington Police Chief Terrence Green hopes starts with this webinar.
"We did have some people call in and express their fear about going to church" says Chief Green.
Speakers from Homeland Security, FEMA and the FBI started the webinar program and ended with a Q-and-A session with police.
"Pastors need to sit down with their local law enforcement and have a meeting with them, but also develop a safety plan with your administration with the employees of the church and also your worshipers," Green said.
He added it's going to take a team effort.
"These people will go back and it's time for them to work, time for them to put their safety plan together, time for them to go back and go over it with their local law enforcement and make sure that is a great safety plan and enact a that safety plan."
Members, pastors and leaders from 23 different churches were present along with almost a dozen officers.