New smartphone app helps to address church security and disaster preparation

Evans, GA. (WJBF)-Reports of mass shootings at churches across the country has prompted the creation of a new security app called “Safeguarding houses of worship”.

Outside of Faith Outreach Church in Augusta there reads a sign that says no firearms or weapons. Willie Peoples, head of security at the church and a retired Veteran says they were on a higher alert after the shooting in Charleston Carolina.

“Everybody that comes into the church isn’t trying to get their souls right. Some people are just trying to see how they can enhance being a threat to the church.” said Peoples.

That’s what prompted the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office to come up with an app that would strengthen  security and create plans to respond to emergencies such as active shooters. Clay Whittle, Columbia County sheriff says it’s a plan that they’ve been working on for a year now.

” I’m very excited for it I think it’s a huge boost for our houses of worship here in Columbia County and in the CSRA as a whole because it gives them a user friendly tool to say what if and then what do we do in case of an emergency.” Whittle added.

The sheriffs office invited several worship leaders to attend a special presentation for an unveiling of the new app. Columbia County will be the first agency in the country to use it.

“We were having discussions amongst many clergy men in the community to be honest with you whether it’s an active shooter or a hurricane people are concerned about protecting their houses of worship.” Whittle concluded.

Sheriff says they reached out to the National Justice Institute who created the app some of the features will include an interactive campus map as well as vulnerability and threat assessments that would help create a detailed evacuation plan.

Those that are interested in downloading the app should contact their local law enforcement agency.


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