Greene County seminar teaches faith-based organizations about safety

GREENE COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL)– The Greene County Sheriff’s Department held a seminar Saturday to make sure people at churches in the community remain safe.

It has been one year since a lone gunman walked into a church in Charleston South Carolina and killed 9 people, and nearly a week ago tragedy struck our nation once again, this time at Orlando night club where more than 40 people were killed.

The Greene County Sheriff’s Department held a class at the Capitol Theatre in downtown Greenville on how to protect your church if it is under attack.

“Pay particular attention to people who look out of place…if it looks out of place, it probably is out of place,” said speaker Johnny Welch.

Welch is a law enforcement professional who lead the conversation.

“There’s no real sanctuary out there where people can feel safe anymore,” said Welch.  “I’m trying to pass onto people how to make their church a safer church.”

Greene County Sheriff Pat Hankins said there were about 125 Greene County church personnel in attendance.

“Several churches called and wanted us to come out and do a program like this,” said Hankins. “We decided to host one big organizational meeting and have all of the churches come in.”

Welch, owner of J&P Welch Law Enforcement Training and Consultants highlighted key safety measures.

“Security cameras are a great deterrent to anyone who is thinking about, or wants to commit an offense,” he said.  “We talk about adding monitors… we talk about putting burglar alarms in churches.”

Welch said larger churches may even use guns.

“Mega churches, which is usually a church of a thousand or more people… you’re going to find that they’ve already implemented this,” he said.

Local pastors who attended the class, say it is crucial for church safety.

“I think this is a much needed seminar for all churches and I think this is something that all churches are going to have to be looking at,” said Clarence Gammill, Pastor of Ridges Chapel Church of God.

A program Welch said is determined to keep people safe.

“All I want to do is save a life, that’s all we are trying to do,” he said. “If I save one this whole program is worth it.”

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