In wake of mass shooting, Flagler County deputies offer church safety checks

Sheriff's Office offers to check security for places of worship

(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

BUNNELL, Fla. – In the wake of the mass shooting at a Texas church on Sunday, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office is offering security checks for places of worship in Flagler County.

Places of worship are welcoming in nature, open to the public, and meet at regularly scheduled times. This presents unique vulnerabilities that can pose potential risks if a facility is not prepared, the sheriff's office wrote in a news release.

The Domestic Homeland Security Unit at the FCSO will conduct on-site security surveys of places of worship to determine the present security status, identify deficiencies, and then make recommendations to improve the overall security of the facility.

All facilities should have lockdown and evacuation procedures, and all church staff and volunteers should be trained for their individual responsibilities, deputies said.

“Pastors and faith-based leaders have a responsibility to protect their congregation,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “Unfortunately, there is no single answer to prevent a violent crime or traumatic incident so it is important that all organizations are prepared to respond to whatever happens in or around their establishment. Develop an emergency response plan today -- and let us help you.”

Faith-based leaders are urged to contact the Sheriff’s Domestic Homeland Security Director Randy Stroud at 386-586-4837 or send an email to RStroud@flaglersheriff.com to schedule a security check.

Deputies said their goal is to provide the necessary resources to places of worship to help their facilities stay safe.