Local churches rethink security measures, ask for active-shooter training following Texas shooting

Local church leaders consider hiring...

MADISON, Wis - Local churches are still trying to decide how to best protect themselves from an active shooter a month after 26 people were killed by a shooter targeting a Texas church.

Bishop Harold Rayford's initial reaction to the shooting was to hire armed guards. The pastor of The Faith Place church in Sun Prairie has since changed his mind.

"What I found in talking to people is that sometimes having armed guards makes certain people feel less safe," said Rayford.

The parishioners felt armed guards were unnecessary and would make them feel uncomfortable.

"We want our members, our visitors, to feel safe when they're at church. And when you have an armed guard, it makes you think 'Maybe I'm not safe here'," said Rayford.

Since the Texas shooting, the elder board at High Point church in Madison has voted to authorize a number of members of their congregation to carry guns. 

After talking to News 3 about the plans in November, Pastor Nic Gibson said about 25 people called the church upset about the idea of guns in the church. 

The small parish struggled to pay for armed guards and federal laws prevented the security team from carrying guns without contracts, because they are located beside a school.

The Madison Police Department has received requests from churches asking for armed guards. But even more churches are asking for Civilian Response to Active Shooters training. 

"Many of these events end before police arrival, so training civilians is important to survival," said Madison Police Officer Matt Magolan.

The Dane County Sheriff's Office has also seen an increase in requests for training since the Texas shooting.

The FBI-approved program teaches situational awareness and advocates defending yourself as a last resort. 

The department has dedicated Deputy Joselyn Longley to do these trainings full-time. She said she is booked through April.




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