Hundreds attend Carter County Sheriff’s Office church security class

ELIZABETHTON, TENN. (WJHL) – Nearly 300 people from across Carter County came out to Pleasant Beach Baptist Church Monday night to hear a church security presentation from the Carter County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Dexter Lunceford said they wanted to do the class to better inform their community about church safety, after church shootings across the country and the world, most recently in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Earlier this month, a gunman killed 26 people as they churchgoers sat inside a Baptist church.

Lunceford hosted the event with First Sergeant Patrick Johnson, they called it “Church Security for Modern Times.”

“First goal is to keep the threat out of your facility,” Sgt. Johnson said.

Lunceford said there are 131 churches in the county and he wants them to think about what they want as far as security goes because many churches haven’t thought that through.

They talked about things like surveillance cameras, locking doors, determining the best way to better secure your church and even about forming security teams.

People in the audience jotted down notes and asked questions throughout the presentation.

“Everywhere it’s happened I’m sure they thought it won’t happen here,” Sheriff Lunceford said.

We learned some churches are already making changes.

“We’re just going through the process right now of spending $2,000 on panic bars on all of our doors until they can be locked from the outside,” Pastor Garry Edwards of Pinecrest Baptist Church said.

The sheriffs office also discussed getting prepared for medical emergencies at the church and inclement weather.

“Should they choose, they can give me a call and we’ll set up a church specific, we’ll come out and look at your church, the building, and we’ll come up with some church specific ideas,” Sheriff Lunceford said.

Sheriff Lunceford said they’re looking to have more classes like this in the future.

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