Sheriff ready to train church leaders to protect congregations after deadly Texas shooting


CLAREMORE, Okla. (KTUL) -- Thousands of Oklahomans will return to church this weekend a week after a gunman opened fire during a service in Texas, killing 26 people and injuring some 20 more. A local law enforcement agency wants to take the fears of an attach while worshiping away.

Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton wants to make sure the same kind of massacre doesn't happen in small town Oklahoma. Walton's deputies are planning to meet with local church members to start a conversation about what to do and what not to do in an active shooter situation.

Almost every congregation has members with law enforcement or security, some with concealed carry experience. But Walton says someone in the church needs specific training to deal with potentially chaotic situations.

"The worst fear you would have would be friendly fire, somebody hurting one of the good guys," said Walton.

A plan would have clearly-organized responsibilities like watching the entrances, designating someone to call 911 and protecting specific sections of the sanctuary.

A couple of members of the RCSO have already setup security plans for their own congregations.

Major Coy Jenkins is happy to be on alert on Sundays so others can be at peace.

"That they are able to attend a worship service and be able to concentrate on what's happening at a worship service and not be worried about a threat upon their safety, that's really important to me," said Jenkins.

Churches can decide to go with different levels of protection, but a plan could also be worthwhile in case of bad weather or other issues.

Walton is holding an informational meeting for churches interested in putting together a security plan at Blue Star Church of Christ in Claremore, 319 E. Blue Star Dr., next Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. Ultimately, a training program will be offered to church leaders and is open to the community.

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