Metzgar declares church security town hall a huge success
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.
DEL. RIC METZGAR (R-6)