Church security training offered April 24

Angie Talken
Linn County Leader

When Scott Smith, Brookfield, heard about the Sutherland Springs church shooting on Nov. 5, 2017, he was shaken. The Amry veteran said since then security and safety have "always" been on his mind.

"I researched the statistics of church mass shootings and they are consistently on the rise," Smith said. "We are in Small Town USA - just like the folks in Texas. they were worshipping and had no idea and never could have imagined a person coming in there and shooting them."

Smith said due to his training he is always aware of his surroundings, but after the Sutherland Springs shooting, he began sitting in the back of the church, paying extra attention. 

"With my military background and training, I took it upon myself to be security," he said. "I sit in the back of the church and watch who comes and goes."

Smith said he has the support of the pastor and other congregation leaders at Trinity United Methodist Church.

"Ever since I started attending I took it upon myself to do that quietly and here recently have been discussing this with my church leaders and let them know it is an important aspect we need to address and I have gotten support from my church pastor and other leaders," he said. I am looking forward to making (security training) it happen with God's help."

Smith reached out to Brookfield Police Officer on Bagley, who is a training ALICE instructor (Alert, Lockdown, Counter, Evacuate). This training focuses on civilian responses to an intruder or active shooter. 

"The Main premise of this type of training is that a lot of people don't understand in events like that they do have options," Bagley said. "it trains people and teaches them to take necessary steps to survive and event like that."

Bagley will host an event, coordinated by Smith from 8 a.m.-12 p.m., on April 24 at the Trinity United Methodist Church in Brookfield. 

Bagley said he has hosted other training for businesses, schools and groups, but this will be the first training event open to the public.

"ALICE prides itself on wanting to get the information out there," Bagley said. "The more people who understand how to react can survive an event."

Smith said the event is open to anyone who is interested in learning how to better protect their church and family.

"I am just praying we have a good crowd and that the churches in the community take a serious look at their church security and what their plan of reactions would be if something did happen," he said. "This would be a great tool to expand on that."