Area church leaders get active shooter training

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - After Sunday's Church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, church leaders in the Tri-State are looking to make changes to protect their parishioners.

Watching parishioners being shot and carried away while worshiping play out on TV has been a wake up call for many church leaders. On Friday, Middletown police held an Active Shooting Training course to teach them what to do if they are targeted.

"I've been a classroom teacher for 13 years. I'm used to thinking about it in school environment because of all the things that have happened but now it's like, 'Oh my goodness.' The place we felt should be the safest, a church, a house of God, is now a place we have to be mindful of safety," said Cheryl Young.

Young's husband is a pastor at Grace Point Nazarene in Trenton. They decided to attend Middletown's Active Shooter Response Training -- also called A.L.I.C.E. -- to better protect their house of worship.

"For somebody who really wants to harm people it's almost the perfect set up," said Sgt. Sam Allen, with the Middletown Police Department.

During the training officers warned against just locking down in place and hoping for the best. Instead they showed how to tie doors closed, how to position oneself to confront a shooter, and how to take a shooter down.

"They are going after individuals where there's less security, which you know, if you go to a church all the doors are open. There's very little security on scene so they're going where there's the least resistance for them to cause the most damage," said Lt. David Birk, with Middletown police.

More than 50 church leaders were in attendance, paying close attention and taking notes. Young says she is already planning on making changes for their next service this Sunday.

"We've never locked our doors like during church service. They've always been open and we've already spoke about that. Getting our doors locked shortly after service starts, having somebody out back watching, being able to let people in -- but also watching our environment," said Young.

Middletown police are also encouraging church leaders to have an officer walk through their church to practice different scenarios so that they are prepared.

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