Local Churches Look To Police For Ways To Safely Worship In Wake Of Texas Shooting
EUFAULA, Oklahoma - Saturday night, the Eufaula Police department worked with church leaders on how to reduce and prevent mass shootings.
This comes just days after a gunman killed 26 people at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
The Eufaula police chief said since the mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs Texas, the department has received dozens of phone calls asking, 'what can we do?"
That's why he spoke at the church Saturday.
"Folks, you can't let fear control your life. You can't let it dictate your life or how you live your life," said Don Murray.
That's not a pastor speaking, it's the Police Chief of Eufaula, Don Murray.
He's addressing an issue that's on everyone's mind in this sanctuary; mass shootings at church.
"It's been kind of worrisome with what's going on to think it could happen to us right here," said Church member Shirley Brunkhorst.
Brunkhorst and her husband Bill have gone to First Free Will Baptist Church for more than 10 years.
They learned Saturday that the safest place to go if there's ever an active shooter is on the ground.
"I've often wondered about that. If we should get under the pews; that's good to know," said Brunkhorst.
But the group also learned there are things that can be done beforehand to be more prepared and possibly prevent a mass shooting.
"I believe every one of our churches, just like our banks, should have a security team," said Chief Murray.
Murray said churches can't depend solely on law enforcement and encourages them to form their own security teams.
"They don't have to be armed. It just needs to be personnel that know what to look for and are willing to intervene if necessary," Murray said.
Eufaula police officers are also offering to do security walk-throughs at local churches.
They'll provide written recommendations to church leaders on what actions to take.
"Feel like we put our lives in God's hands. That's all we can do," said Brunkhorst.
Murray encourages every church in our area to reach out to its local police department and ask for a security walk-through.