MSP gives special training to church leaders - WNEM TV 5

MSP gives special training to church leaders

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

Just months ago, a gunman opened fire at a Texas church killing 26 people.

It was the deadliest massacre at a place of worship in the United States.

Michigan State Police are making sure local churches are safe by giving specialized training to church leaders.

“I think in this day and age and in the culture that’s going on, we need to be realistic,” said Brian Bolt, member of Ames United Methodist Church.

Bolt was brought up in the church, but he said lately, he’s been far more concerned about his safety.

“There’s just so much going on that it’s unpredictable. And I just think that churches are vulnerable,” Bolt said.

That is why he and so many others attended the security training seminar at Hopevale Church in Saginaw.

MSP put on the class for interested clergy members. They learned how to best protect themselves and others during an active shooter situation.

It’s not just personal safety MSP is encouraging, but establishing a security team as well.

“We wanted to offer something to the public where we could create teams and security teams to keep our citizens safe while we go to our places of worship,” MSP Trooper William Smith said.

Smith said this is something he has been hoping to establish for a while.

The response from church staff has been positive.

“We’re sometimes called a soft target and we don’t want to be a soft target,” said Jim Clunie, facility manager for Hopevale Church.

Clunie said creating a security team is not only necessary for larger churches like his, but the smaller ones as well.

“It’s getting a plan in place, getting it down in writing and then doing some training with the people that you have on your team,” Clunie said.

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