Safety the focus as hundreds of church leaders, members attend Morehead training

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MOREHEAD, Ky. (WKYT) – Hundreds of church leaders and members from across central and eastern Kentucky met in Morehead to discuss safety and learn new tactics to keep their congregation safe.

Hundreds of church leaders and members from across central and eastern Kentucky met in Morehead to discuss safety and learn new tactics to keep their congregation safe.

The training was held at Better Life Church in Morehead Thursday night. The event was hosted by several members of law enforcement including the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office.

The focus was finding solutions and building on best practices in the areas of medical emergencies, crowd safety, childcare safety and active shooter situations.

"Scripturally we are supposed to be vigilant and we are supposed to be watchful,” said Better Life Church Safety Coordinator Scott Barker.

Barker, a former member of the FBI, says Better Life Church has worked hard to implement training to keep the 1,200 people that attend their services a week safe. This includes 20-30 volunteer safety personnel that rotate week in and week out – each focused on their own task.

The training has been in planning for weeks but timely after two church members were killed in a sanctuary in Texas at the end of 2019. Another church member on the safety committee would stop the gunman within seconds by shooting him. The gunman would later die.

“You want to bring damaged people into church because that is what church is about but there is a time when it crosses the line and you have to protect the congregation,” said Barker.

The hundreds of people that arrived took advantage of the 4 hour seminar by listening to speakers and then rotating to different stations. Some stations included security, developing a radio system and a simulator. The simulator allowed participants to actively deescalate a situation or use a fake gun if in an active shooter situation.

Leaders last hosted the training in 2018 and hope to continue helping other churches develop emergency plans in the future.

They encourage any church hoping to develop a plan to contact their local law enforcement for help.