On Saturday, Nov. 4, world-famous speakers on church violence will be at First Baptist Concord for a church security seminar by Sheepdog Safety Training. The community is invited to the event.
“This training is not just about active shooters,” said Kevin Greene, director of security for First Baptist Concord and an officer trainer for Knox County Sheriff’s Office. “It also talks about sexual predators and other major issues that threaten the safety and security of the church.
“A church is an easy place to do harm because people have let their guard down to go into a place of worship,” Greene added.
“The seminar is geared for ushers, greeters, childcare workers, pastors, school administrators – anyone who’s responsible for the safety of a large number of people. Topics include everything from ways to protect children from sexual assault, or a non-custodial parent trying to pick them up due to divorce situations, etc.”
The seminar will be held in the Student Gym with a special kickoff at 6:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 3. The film “Faith Under Fire” will be shown at no cost to the community. The docudrama is about the 1980 church shooting at First Baptist Church in Daingerfield, Texas.
From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, participants will learn the latest in security measures. The cost of the seminar is $69 per person, but police officers and state-licensed guards can enjoy a buy-one-get-one-free discount. Some scholarships are available.
“The lineup of speakers is fantastic,” Greene said.
“Lt. Col. Dave Grossman will be the featured speaker of this event,” Greene added. “Col. Grossman is an internationally recognized scholar, author, soldier and speaker who is one of the world’s foremost experts in the field of human aggression and the roots of violence. He is highly sought after as a speaker to veterans’ groups, law enforcement training, private security companies and educators around the world.
“He gives attendees a glimpse into the mindset of someone who wants to do harm to the innocent. He has written several books, some of which are required reading on the U.S. Marine Corps Commandant’s List. Col. Grossman is more than a motivational speaker … he is a psychologist that can take you into the mind of a killer and lead you back out with a renewed hope of prevention.”
Jimmy Meeks is a former police officer who now travels the country talking about church violence and the current statistics associated with it. He has also has been a minister for more than 44 years, a former school resource officer and hostage negotiator.
Carl Chinn is an author and nationally-recognized expert on church violence. He was a first responder as part of the security team at the New Life Church shooting in Colorado 2007.
He also was both a hostage and a negotiator at the hostage situation at Focus on the Family in 1996. He now serves at New Life as the investigation and law enforcement liaison.
Officer Gregory Stevens is the Texas officer who stopped the two ISIS gunmen who planned to kill hundreds at an event center. Stevens engaged the two gunmen as they fired at him and an unarmed guard at an entrance with assault rifles. He will talk about the events of that day, his training leading up to that day, the honor of receiving the President’s Medal of Valor and how the events of that day have affected his faith.
“Now you’re just as likely, or more likely, to die at church as at school,” Meeks said recently. “The former policeman and pastor said church staff need to put security programs in place to protect their congregation before a violent event occurs.”
“As of this year there have been 67 homicides at faith-based locations across the country,” Greene said. “In East Knoxville, a man was shot outside Greater Ebenezer Baptist on May 28. The [national]record was 77 and we’re on track to break it.
“Especially after the Nashville shooting we had a lot of people call here looking for advice and saying, ‘I’m nervous. What are you all doing?’” he added.
Greene said that based on the number of hired guards and licensed volunteers, FBC is one of the largest security companies in East Tennessee.
“The average person in our congregation with a handgun carry permit — I do not want them to act,” Greene said. “There’s a lot of potential for a bad shoot there. All of our guards and officers go through a national firearm qualification and have to shoot at a higher standard than what the state of Tennessee requires.”
He and another staff member attended the seminar two years ago in Chattanooga.
“We were doing some things right,” he said “There were other things we had no clue about. The majority of sexual predators in a church come through the worship ministry. They know that people who work with children are background-checked. Now we have a procedure in place that everyone who volunteers here is background-checked.”
To register, go to twww.SheepdogSafetyTraining.com and select the Knoxville seminar.