Augusta, Ga. – A new push to make sure houses of worship are safe from active shooters.
Law enfocement on all levels says it’s important to report anything suspicious.
The Charleston massacre is a big reason why law enforcement keeps this conversation going.
They say the key is having a plan.
Construction plans are coming together for a children’s wing at First Presbyterian Church.
A plan for safety is already in place.
“We try to do what we do behind the scenes to minimize distraction all the while assuring the congregation they are going to be safe as we can possibly make it,” said Pastor George Robertson.
Robertson says he reminds his 18-hundred member congregation about the church’s safety plan after tragedies like the Paris Attacks.
Pastor Robertson says he has trained peace officers who sit with the congregation every service here. It’s part of a plan they’ve had in place for about five years and law enforcement from the federal level to the local level say a plan is the one thing you need to stay safe.
Captain William Probus with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office said, “So when you’re thinking about these plans, those are real questions to ask yourself. Do you check, do you check everybody that comes in?”
Those ideas were a part of the conversation at this houses of worship safety and security summit at GRU.
Events like this are more popular now after the Charleston massacre.
WJBF News Channel 6’s Deon Guillory asked FBI Agent James Harrison, “What can really be done to put the kibosh on this, if at all?”
Harrison asked, “On active shooter situations?”
Deon Guillory replied,: “Yeah”
Harrison answered, “I think social awareness, right? Making the citizenry aware”
Robertson said,””We’re trying to make our people aware that not only is there a security team, but they have a responsibility in participating and being vigilant.”
To make sure the newest additions don’t become the newest victims.
The FBI says anything that may seem out of the ordinary, is worth checking out. It’s worth reporting to the police if it goes that far.