Security on the minds of pastors after deadly mass shooting at Texas church

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The deadly mass shooting at a Church in Texas has local pastors and police reviewing security.

Lt. Steve Huber of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police (CMPD) says churches need to have a plan in the event an active shooter is inside their building. According to CMPD, approximately 75 churches in the Charlotte area hire off-duty CMPD officers to direct traffic and handle security on Sundays.

Lt. Huber says the department also has a two-hour program designed to help churches and businesses train for active shooter incidents. Police say their courses are centered around ABCs of an active shooter: Avoid. Barricade. Counter. Survive.

Huber says the training gives people the best chance of survival.

Pastor Brenda Stevenson of New Outreach Christian Center in Charlotte says she's sticking with her decision to buy a gun to have at her church. She was at the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office on Monday morning getting the final paperwork needed to get a gun.

"And I want a weapon for protection for me and my family and for the people that come in to be served" Pastor Stevenson said.

The Pastor says no one knows who will walk into the Church.

She remembers an incident.

"A gentleman came in and he was rushing and it was like we owe him something and he said he didn't have time for all this and he wanted his stuff now but he had to be approved," Pastor Stevenson said. "But you know what we did – he was in the back of the line - we put him in the front of the line and gave that man some things so he could leave because he was like a time bomb."

Stevenson said she completed the conceal carry course.

Hopewell Baptist Church in Union County is taking a different approach.

Rev. Gregory Shaver says his Church hires Union County deputies for security on Sunday's. Shaver said while one deputy directs traffic, another one stands at the door and a third deputy sits inside the worship center.

Rev. Shaver, the Executive Pastor at Hopewell Baptist Church, says they started hiring deputies because years ago the Church's Senior Pastor received a serious threat.

He says the Church prefers to have law enforcement around.

"We felt that was the safest and best option for church security rather than having folks that are in your congregation that may or may not be as well trained to handle the different situations," he said. "Especially if it escalated to the point to where someone needs to be arrested or if there was an active shooter, you can rely on law enforcement and their background and their training versus your church member who's not going to have that kind of background and being equipped to handle what can come up."

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