Local church takes security measures after recent shootings - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Local church takes security measures after recent shootings

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WEST FRANKFORT -- Recent church shootings have members of a Franklin county congregation taking steps to make sure they stay safe. 

For three weeks now, Grace Baptist Fellowship in West Frankfort has been locking their doors. It's a security measure Pastor Roger Teal said recent tragedies forced them to take.

"When the service starts, we have someone standing at the door, he's in plain clothes just like anybody else and he stays at the door during the entire service," said Pastor Teal. 

Pastor Teal told his congregation at the end of September to expect stricter security measures, like locking the doors and having an emergency preparedness team. 
     
"We had some people who just kind of were like, 'We are going to start locking the doors of the church? Why are we going to do that?' That very day is the day they had the shooting in Nashville," said Teal. 
     
That shooting left one person dead and eight others injured. This weekend, another church shooting occurred, this one in Texas, where 26 people were killed and 20 more injured.

Teal said his church is doing all they can to prevent such a tragedy from happening right here in southern Illinois. That's why on top of locking the doors, many in the congregation are undergoing training. 

"We have trained in CPR, AED training and also first aid. We've trained 23 people in the last two weeks," said Teal. 

They have 39 trained members. Pastor Teal said many of those worshipping from their seats on Sunday have their Concealed Carry Permits and could be packing heat. Soon, they'll add security cameras and better ways to communicate in a crisis.

"We're looking at radios right now," said Teal.  

They're all steps Teal hopes will keep his congregation safe.

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