Church Safety

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COLUMBIA - Security at mid-Missouri churches is an ongoing conversation, and Boone County officials will lead a discussion on the topic Tuesday night.

Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) and the Boone County Office of Emergency Management are hosting a free training seminar to provide information and teach the public about threats and incidents at houses of worship.

The event will "include recommendations to enhance security measures and provide techniques to aid in preventing any future incidents," according to Cap. David Hall of MIAC. 

The training will take place at 7 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church in downtown Columbia. 

Sherril Gladney, Planning and Preparedness Specialist with Boone County Emergency Management, says security measures for churches are different from schools or office buildings.

"There are a lot of similarities, and then there's some unique challenges to churches." Gladney said. "Churches and houses of worship are, by nature, designed to be places to welcome everyone. Therefore some of the security issues that you might come in contact with might be a little bit different."

Gladney said churches might not have thought about security measures in the past, but they are thinking about it now.

"Unfortunately churches are sometimes targeted for violent acts, vandalism or any number of crimes. There have been some active shooter types of events. Churches are considered a soft target." said Gladney.

There is no registration required at the free meeting, but seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-serve basis.