Do churches need more security? Safety experts weigh in - News, Weather & Sports

Do churches need more security? Safety experts weigh in


It was only five nights ago that the Rev. Joseph Terra and the Rev. Kenneth Walker were attacked at the rectory where they lived.Terra had a gun, but the suspect grabbed it from him. So what, if anything, could have been done to prevent such a violent act?

"They're easy targets. They're the softest of soft targets," said venue safety expert Steven Adelman. He has been asked to walk through numerous Valley churches, temples and mosques and detect any vulnerabilities.

"How many entrances are there? How well secured are they? Are there dark corners where someone could lurk?" Adelman asked. He said places of worship are high-profile, full of people and poorly defended. And while you can't prevent every tragedy, a little security goes a long way.

"Have some kind of off-duty police officer presence in a visible position," Adelman suggested.

"It used to be the only thing that was of value of a church was a microphone and an organ," said Chuck Chadwick, the president of the National Organization of Church Security and Safety Management. He trains churchgoers to defend the holy house - even lethally.

"It's the church's decision as to how open they want to be," Chadwick said.

While Adelman doesn't disagree with an armed presence, he doesn't think it should be the average parishioner.

"The more guns that are that are firing live ammunition in a crowd, the more likely innocent people are going to get hit," Adelman said.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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