Onslow County officials hold seminar on church security

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Last week, a place of worship turned deadly when a gunman opened fire and killed 26 victims at a Texas church.

In Onslow County, officials are taking note and providing a crime prevention and security seminar specifically designed for churches.

While keeping the doors open is often considered part of what makes a church a church, the recent shooting has left some wondering if it’s the right path.

Pastor Matthew Drake at Richlands United Pentecostal  Church has developed a contingency plan with his congregation, many of whom open carry.

“I’m responsible for the souls that come into this building spiritually, but also I’m like a shepherd, and this is my flock, and I want to take care of them on all levels in any way that I can,” Drake said.

The seminar, developed by the Jacksonville Police Department and the Jacksonville Onslow Chamber of Commerce, is meant to address churches’ security concerns.


“Some churches; they want to feel like they have an open door policy,” said Laurette Leagon, president of the Jacksonville Onslow Chamber of Commerce. “And while that was always the way and some churches still feel that way, you have to protect your parishioners as well.”

Officers from the Jacksonville Police Department’s Community Policing Division provided crime prevention and security information they hope to benefit church congregations.

Pastor Drake is already a few steps ahead, installing cameras and security measures around his church, while also keeping his doors open, which he said is the bottom line.

“This is the house of God,” Drake said. “Come on in. Let’s go. Let’s have church.”

WNCT-TV 9 On Your Side provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s