Faith Leaders Focus on Church Security after National Incidents

September 30, 2017 09:24 PM

(KSTP) -- On Saturday, security experts spoke with faith leaders across the metro to talk about violence in places of worship.

With high-profile attacks happening across the country, experts provided an idea of what religious leaders need to do to keep their congregations safe.


"You want a church to be a warm, embracive, open place," said James Densley, a criminal justice professor at Metropolitan State University. "The downside of that, of course, is in an open environment anyone can be in there"

The most recent shooting at a church occurred in Tennessee on Sunday. The incident left one dead and injured six others. Two years ago, Dylan roof opened fire during a bible study at a Charlottesville, South Carolina, church.

"Those people are not welcome, and there are other places in the community we can support them," said Simon Osamoh, with Kingswood Security Consulting. 

Churches, however, haven't been the only targets. Last month, someone threw an explosive device through the window of a Bloomington mosque.

"It's very sad to see the hatred," Osamoh said. 

That's why Osamoh is using his expertise with Kingswood Security to do something about it.

"There is a desire for worship houses to learn more about security and make sure we're looking out for their congregation," Osamoh said.

Criminal justice expert James Densley stresses it's not about installing metal detectors at churches, as it is training employees to be aware.

"It's the classic debate of liberty and security," Densley said. 

Despite the attacks, faith endures.

"I don't think it's deterring people from coming to church," Densley said. 

Organizers plan to hold the same event again at United Methodist in Minneapolis next year. 


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