Faith organizations gather to learn church safety

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Roughly 75 people gathered Saturday at Mountain Springs Church for a training exercise that teaches people how to be properly prepared when and if a violent situation occurs in church.

In the wake of the 2007 New Life Church shooting, the Combatives Defensive Tactics International team started a training program designed to equip people with the necessary skills and training needed in case of a dangerous situation.

“The purpose of the course is to basically give church security teams some hands on training as to how they can deal with combative or aggressive individuals,” said Art Huerta, the training director.

“It’s just to help us develop the necessary skills for those that don’t feel comfortable with weapons or whatever the case may be in order to extract people the way we need to,” said Kris Rodgers with the Islamic Society of Colorado Springs.

Eighteen different faith-based groups from around Colorado Springs took part in the exercise, which focuses on different techniques to remove people without hurting them.

“There’s a rise as far as places of worship becoming more of a victim or target to varying groups of people,” said Rodgers. “It actually has to do with figuring out ways that would help mitigate these circumstances with the least amount of force necessary in order to keep these places of worship safe.”

The training ranges from unruly loud members of a congregation to an active shooter and the goal is for participants to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to confront the situation.

“This is designed to be a hands-on course, a stand-alone course, so that people are able to get the kind of training they need, take it back to their churches or house of worship or the ministry organizations they represent,” said Huerta.

The safety training also includes self-defense tactics.

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