Local Churchgoers Look For Ways To Safely Worship In Wake Of Texas Shooting
ROGERS COUNTY, Oklahoma - With recent events in Texas, many local churches are taking steps to start protecting their congregation.
On Sunday mornings in Rogers County, the sheriff’s office has four deputies patrolling more than 700 miles and with more than 200 churches in the county.
It would be difficult for law enforcement to respond quickly enough to stop something from happening, so many churches are taking it upon themselves to come up with a plan just in case.
“We have a responsibility as a church and as other individuals to be able to protect each other,” said Jeremy Harrison.
Harrison attends Destiny Life Church in Claremore and thinks it's important to start taking steps to keep people safe because you never know who is walking in the front door.
“We’re just kind of in the beginning stages of communicating amongst everyone in the church and seeing how they want to handle it as well as what type of training is needed to kind of make everything mesh correctly,” he said.
But it's not easy to get people involved.
“I think a lot of people want to help but they just don't know how,” said Harrison.
With the recent shooting at a church in Sand Springs Texas in mind, officials in Rogers County wanted to help local churches and organizations have a plan in place in case something were to happen.
“We’re not trying at all to tell people that you need to have people sitting in a chair with a shotgun by the door in case anything goes wrong,” Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton explained. “ We’re trying to educate people to the fact, let's get a plan.”
Sheriff Walton says churches are easy targets and they've responded to several different situations in Rogers County including domestic disputes and suicide calls, so being prepared is essential in this day and age.
“Any plan is better than no plan at all,” said Walton. “We see situations develop that are unusual, occurrences and we see the wheels come off real quick when there is no plan in place.”
Protecting the church's most vulnerable is important.
“Especially with what happened in Texas and the church in Alabama, you don't think a small town is going to experience that but they do,” said churchgoer James Nofsinger.
They are planning to have additional seminars like the one held Tuesday.
So, if you are interested in attending one, check out the Rogers County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page and they will post the dates there.