Program prepares churches for active shooters

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by Andrew Horansky / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on February 12, 2013 at 11:25 PM

HOUSTON -- In 1981, five people died during a deadly shooting at a church in Daingerfield, Texas. It is now the subject of a new documentary called “Faith Under Fire.”

A former teacher was the gunman. Filmmakers say church violence has since gotten worse.

Jimmy Meeks, a corporal with the Hurst Police Department near Fort Worth, wants to change that.

“As a policeman and I would say as a citizen, we are given the right to use the force that is necessary to do what we need to do to stop people from hurting people who don’t deserve it and who are innocent,” he said.

Meeks has teamed up with the producers of “Faith Under Fire” to create an active shooter safety kit for churches. It is designed to stop a gunman bent on killing.

Members of the New Hope megachurch in Manvel were among the first to try it and are convinced it has made a difference.

On weekends, they now have “eyes and ears” teams at every service. They are made up of male and female volunteers who radio one another regarding anything suspicious. All of them are members of the church and some have law enforcement backgrounds.

The program does not discourage concealed weapons.

“We believe that our problem isn’t weapons,” said Marc Davis, operations manager. “Our problem is bad people with weapons.”

“If people will go in and shoot four and five-year-old children at a school, the church is not safe,” filmmaker Sondra Martin-Hicks said.

As producers point out that new reality, they believe their program will save lives.

Information on the church safety seminar series can be found here.

A public showing of “Faith Under Fire” will take place on Friday, February 15 at the Bethany Christian Church located at 3223 Westheimer in Houston.

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