Faith-based organizations are one of the top five at-risk sectors in terms of security and emergency preparedness, according to a 2007 U.S. State Department Briefing. Many places of worship are “behind the curve, compared to the secular world” when it comes to keeping their people safe, the Briefing revealed (Center for Public Safety Innovation [CPSI], 2015). The results of a 2008 poll of 4,000 churches highlighted this fact, with 75 percent saying they had no security at their churches, and 22 percent saying security wasn’t necessary (CPSI, 2015).
To change these statistics, St. Petersburg College’s Center for Public Safety Innovation (CPSI) held an 8-hour training at the Allstate Center on September 25th titled, “Keeping Your Church and Ministry Safe in an Uncertain World.” Dr. Fronrath, Allstate Center Provost, kicked off the event by warmly greeting the 55-plus ministry leaders, volunteers, and law enforcement practitioners attending the event, some from as far away as Gainesville.
The class, taught by Thomas Gillan, Founder and Director of The PSU Crisis Management and Training Group, Inc., addressed how to handle a variety of threats, including medical emergencies, domestic violence, child care protection, and active shooter events. The course also covered liability issues, the need for a security assessment checklist, organizing safe mission trips, and how to prepare for and recover from natural and man-made disasters.
The training was well received by attendees, with one participant saying, “The information I learned today is so important to the safety of my church. I’m so glad St. Petersburg College provided this training to the community.”
Eileen LaHaie, CPSI’s Executive Director, noted that, “As part of our ongoing commitment to the community policing philosophy, these important training opportunities offered by the College benefit not only our law enforcement agencies but also the communities they serve.”
We want to take this time to thank St. Petersburg College’s Center for Public Safety Innovation, Dr. Fronrath, Eileen LaHaie and Thomas Gillan for all you are doing to help equip our church leaders with the knowledge and training that they need to keep our nations faith-based organizations safe for all who attend.
In regard to CPSI, each CPSI division services a particular area of public safety. All divisions develop and deliver a broad range of training products in each area of expertise. Also, the CPSI provides a Training Calendar that lists future training opportunities. If you’d like more information about CPSI, you can send an email to CPSI.Info@spcollege.edu.
Center for Public Safety Innovation. (2015, September 25). Keeping Your Church and Ministry Safe in an Uncertain World. Training provided at St. Petersburg College Allstate Center, St. Petersburg.