Met­z­gar de­clares church se­cu­rity town hall a huge suc­cess

The Avenue News - - POLICE -

Over 150 peo­ple at­tended a Church Se­cu­rity Town Hall held at Eastern Assem­bly of God in Dun­dalk which was or­ga­nized by Del. Ric Met­z­gar (R-6). The Town Hall was held to in­form the pub­lic about se­cu­rity mea­sures churches could use in light of the re­cent church shooting in Suther­land Springs, Texas. This Church Se­cu­rity Town Hall, which was the first in the Bal­ti­more area, drew peo­ple from as far away as Ce­cil­ton and Millington on the Eastern Shore.

“If this could hap­pen in a small town in ru­ral Texas, it could hap­pen here”, says Del. Ric Met­z­gar.

Mas­ter Trooper Michelle Work­man from the Mary­land State Po­lice was the key­note speaker who out­lined what mea­sures can be taken to keep church mem­bers safe in houses of wor­ship.

Mas­ter Trooper Work­man dis­cussed what to do in the event of an ac­tive shooter un­til Law En­force­ment ar­rives on the scene. The three ar­eas she fo­cused on were avoid, deny and de­fend.

Avoid starts with your state of mind. Pay at­ten­tion to your sur­round­ings, have an exit plan, and in­crease the dis- tance be­tween you and the threat.

Deny be­gins when get­ting away is impossible. Keep dis­tance be­tween you and the threat; turn off the lights and cell phone; re­main out of sight and quiet by hid­ing behind large ob­jects; and cre­ate bar­ri­cades us­ing ob­jects around you such as desks, boxes, ta­bles, and chairs. Breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth. This can slow your heart rate by 20-30 beats per minute and put you 1-2 con­di­tions lower on the stress scale.

De­fend is your right to pro­tect your­self. If you can­not avoid or deny, be pre­pared to de­fend your­self. Be ag­gres­sive and com­mit­ted to your ac­tions. Do not fight fair. Your sur­vival is of the ut­most im­por­tance. Do not play dead. You are more likely to be shot more than once if you play dead. Fi­nally, when you are in a safe place call 911 and tell the operator the lo­ca­tion of the Ac­tive Shooter Sit­u­a­tion. When Law En­force­ment ar­rives on the scene, show your hands and fol­low com­mands.

She spoke for an hour fol­lowed by an hour ques­tion and an­swer ses­sion by a panel of ex­perts. The panel in­cluded Mas­ter Trooper Michelle Work­man, Sergeant Fred Shi­flett from Anne Arun­del County Sher­iff De­part­ment, Christopher Boggs, In­de­pen­dent Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Of­fi­cer from Dig­ni­tary Se­cu­rity, and Ni­cholas Paros from G4S Se­cure So­lu­tions (USA) Inc..

Some of the top­ics raised by the au­di­ence in­cluded in­stalling push bar doors, hir­ing se­cu­rity of­fi­cers to be present dur­ing church ser­vices, and church li­a­bil­ity of church mem­bers car­ry­ing con­cealed weapons.

The pub­lic was in­ter­ested and involved the dis­cus­sions and found the town hall help­ful and in­for­ma­tive.

“I am very glad that Mr. Met­z­gar had the church se­cu­rity town hall which was a very in­for­ma­tive meet­ing,” says Sharon S. Weems from Stans­bury.


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