Mass casualty shooting incidents have been an all too tragic norm in recent years. This sad tendency even reached its ugly hand into houses of worship in November 2017 when 26 people were killed in a mass-shooting incident at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. In order to prevent such a tragedy, or even perhaps to diminish the toll from such an incident, the Crossroads Community Church in the Jersey Shore area, along with the Williamsport Bureau of Police and the Department of Homeland Security, will be presenting a “House of Worship Workshop”, dealing with this issue on Saturday, May 12, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The church is located at 1454 Route 33, Jersey Shore.
The topics included in the training are: Suspicious Activity Reporting, The Top 5 Security Concerns, House of Worship APP, Bomb Threats and Incident Management, Active Shooter Response, Stop the Bleed, and Armed Security and the Armed Congregation Legal Concerns.
“In light of the shootings recently nationwide, Crossroads has decided to host an event put on by the Dept. of Homeland Security and the Williamsport Police Department,” Jason Borowicz, Associate Pastor of the Crossroads Community Church, told Webb Weekly. “This event will inform and resource people who are interested in staying safe in a worst case scenario situation.”
Borowicz approached veteran Williamsport Police Captain Jody Miller to conduct the training.
Miller explained how he got involved in doing this type of training.
“I had the opportunity to be introduced to James Cratty who works for the Department of Homeland Security earlier this year. I was told that he helps to coordinate several programs for DHS to include training classes,” Miller said. “I schedule all the training at the WBP, so we began discussing some of the classes that he helps to facilitate in hopes of hosting some of those trainings. One of them was “The house of worship workshop.”
He said he thinks this training is extremely important. “We need to continue to educate the public on basic things they can do to pre-plan and prepare for possible tragic events. Having some discussions and plans in advance are crucial to possibly saving a life. We hope that NO tragedy would ever impact another business, house of worship or a school. The truth is these events will continue to happen, and we need to be prepared in advance to respond and deal with that event.”
Miller added, “I hope that everyone who leaves the workshop will take away a greater understanding of some things they can do to help prepare in advance for a variety of events. A lot of these ideas and concepts are basic common sense, but they do require some planning and training. We hope that those who attend will start, if they haven’t already, to put plans in place. If they do have plans in place, we hope they go back and re-evaluate to ensure they are up to date. We then hope they do training to ensure the best possible outcome. The goal of Law Enforcement is the preservation of life. We hope this accomplishes that goal”.
He concluded by stating, “We have seen a huge increase in request for active shooter training over the past year. We have been working with our other law enforcement partners to try and provide as much of that training as we can. We first focused that effort on our public and private school systems. As that concludes we will then transition that focus to private business as well as other events where large gatherings take place like houses of worship. The law enforcement community in Lycoming County is dedicated to doing whatever we can to protect our residents.”