Protecting the flock: More churches relying on increased security

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - There’s a reason Easter Sunday brings out heavy security at churches around central Ohio.

“Easter is the Super Bowl of churches,” says Clifton Spinner, Safety and Security Director at Franklin University in downtown Columbus and Urbana University in Urbana, Ohio.

“The church is going to be very crowded and if people are sick or evil in their planning, they'll target that day because that sends a message,” he adds.

A recent safety seminar hosted by Spinner brought out more than 100 pastors and church leaders.

“Their biggest concern was just protecting their flock,” says Spinner, referring to past church shootings in Texas and Charleston, South Carolina.

“Churches were always a place of safety, a safe haven for people to go and feel comfortable. That thought has completely shattered and changed now,” he said.

Spinner says the same rules he instills at his two college campuses should apply to churches and big businesses:

  • Awareness of your surroundings
  • Strategic positioning of security personnel
  • Surveillance system
  • Controlled access to entry and exit doors


“We have a Franklin awareness and intervention team and we meet monthly to talk about threat assessment pieces, things that rise to a level of concern,” explains Spinner.

CrimeTracker 10 has learned the concept of adding armed security – or training personnel at the very least—is gaining popularity.

The Franklin County Sheriff's Office says it is getting daily requests from church leaders for its CRASE training, which stands for Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events. Instructors expect to hold training courses for more than 41 churches by the end of September 2018. By year’s end, that number will have outgrown the total for 2017.

“You almost have to get to the point in today's society where active aggressor events or shooter events are as common as a fire drill.”