What Church Security Team Equipment Should You Invest In?
The importance of security for places of worship cannot be overstated. Whether you operate a small church in a small town or a mega-church in a big city, security must be part of your strategy every time you welcome people to gather on church grounds.
While the size of your security team can range from a few watchful volunteers to an entire team of specialized individuals (depending on the size and location of your church), realize that everyone in your ministry plays a role in keeping your church safe. In this guide, we’ll go through what it means to run a secure church in current times and the church security team equipment you can invest in to provide peace of mind.
Dependable Security Begins With Training
There are many courses you can enroll your ministry leaders and staff in to ensure your church is a safer place to worship. While your mind might immediately go to tactical defense classes, which can be very beneficial, also consider the following skills that can help proactively recognize, respond to, and de-escalate several safety issues:
- Managing personal space: Help staff keep threats at a distance should they be approached during service or even during normal business hours.
- Communication and verbal skills: Empower staff to both communicate with potential threats effectively and make others in the church aware of those threats succinctly and even secretly, in the event they’re being listened to by a potential threat or can be heard by the congregation.
- De-escalation skills: Being able to de-escalate any situation is the ideal approach used by law enforcement and private security alike. When your church can avoid violence and aggression altogether, everyone will leave safer and less distressed.
Besides the above training, you should consider having a company come out who can walk your staff and security team through procedures and scenarios based on what they may experience in the real world. Have emergency meeting points along with a plan for the most common situations and a plan for any situation where you don’t have a plan.
When your staff and core volunteers know what to do in an emergency, your church will feel safer and ultimately be safer no matter what presents itself.
The Best Church Security Team Equipment
Gone are the days when we could leave the church doors unlocked for anyone to visit at any time. Unfortunately, between vandalism and severe security threats, churches have to keep a watchful eye on the grounds to ensure no one with bad intentions comes onto the property, whether during or after hours.
To help with these issues, basic security equipment is really the first thing your church should invest in. Beyond that, you’ll also want to consider more tactical equipment as your church’s needs are defined.
Role: Deterrent and detection.
Audible alarms are the first thing any building has installed when upping security because they serve the crucial purpose of alerting everyone, including the intruder, that a threat has been detected. On their own, an audible alarm can scare away wrong-doers just because their supposed “stealthy” entrance has lost its element of surprise.
The best practices for using an audible alarm are to set it consistently after normal business hours. Even when staff are in the building, anytime your church isn’t expecting the general public, set the alarm to help protect those inside.
Look for an alarm that:
- Offers a short window of 10 to 15 seconds (often customizable), giving staff enough time to enter their pin code before the alarm sounds. It will give warning beeps during this time.
- Can be installed on doors, windows and other potential entry points, with the latter sounding the alarm immediately with no warning window.
- Sends alerts to specified people’s phones, letting them know the alarm has been triggered even if they’re not on the property.
- Calls law enforcement after a customizable window of time (like two to three minutes), allowing staff enough time to disengage the alarm if it’s a false alarm. You can also have the alarm call law enforcement immediately, like if the alarm goes off after-hours.
When the alarm goes off and people are inside, make sure they have a plan of action. Who goes to check the threat? What exit or safe room should everyone head to? In instances where people are inside and the alarm sounds, the safest plan is to send staff to a place where they are together to brainstorm and check the live cameras to understand the threat, without the need to approach it.
Role: Detection and evidence.
Simply knowing that there are CCTV cameras on your church grounds will deter a number of people from ever stepping foot on your property, but live cameras primarily serve as a means of detection and evidence. After all, if someone ignores your audible alarm, they will generally ignore cameras, too.
Of course, live cameras placed strategically both inside and around the church grounds will help you:
- Detect and understand potential threats, even before they approach the property or trigger the alarm with the use of motion detection alerts.
- Present evidence of would-be intruders who were caught on camera, like in the instance they triggered the alarm and then aborted their plans.
- Allow your security team to track the location of a potential threat throughout the grounds, which is especially helpful in executing security strategies, whether during service, after hours, or otherwise.
Live cameras give you eyes where you otherwise would have blind spots, allowing your church staff to keep everyone safer. If you invest in CCTV cameras, make sure someone monitors them during service and other times of heightened threat to ensure they’re able to inform your security strategy like they’re supposed to.
Role: Prevention and threat control.
After you invest in an alarm and add camera monitoring, your next security investment should include a radio communications system. Relatively inexpensive, radios will allow your security and staff to communicate with each other discreetly, even during services. If everyone wears an earpiece, all of your staff can be quickly alerted to potential threats.
Security teams who are in-the-know and understand the threat thanks to information garnered through live cameras or physical confrontation will be able to call out a plan of action, perhaps by code name (i.e., Code Black), allowing staff to begin executing the plan swiftly and move everyone to safety.
Peace of Mind Through Preparation
Here at Donorwerx, we specialize in helping churches collect donations in a safe and convenient manner, but from working hands-on with thousands of churches, we know that your ministry has some other pressing concerns. If your church is worried about security or thinking about growing its team, learning new strategies, or implementing the right equipment, reach out to a security company in your area.
Investing in church security team equipment is, by far, one of the best things your church can do in today’s times. Not only will it give everyone peace of mind, but it will help you keep your church and its congregation safe and thriving for years to come.