WAPAKONETA — Late last year a man opened fire in the West Freeway Church of Christ church in Texas, killing two people before a church security team fired shots and killed the shooter.
The worshippers who weren’t shot were lucky, but what if there hadn’t been a “good guy with a gun” in the church?
Scenarios like this were played out Sunday at First United Methodist Church in Wapakoneta.
The church welcomed other churches and the community to participate in ALICE training put on by the Wapakoneta Police Department. ALICE stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate.
“I think churches, businesses, schools, the training that we put on — It doesn’t have to be a certain place for it to work,” said Lieutenant Patrick Green. “You could be at a mall. You could be at a school. You can be at a church. So really we teach people the skills to go out and use anywhere they are in the community.”
Four things are emphasized.
“We try to teach to be more observant of their surroundings, ways to alert other people around them in case there is an active threat, and how to combat that threat or how to evacuate,” said Green.
Those attending the training were told that when facing an active shooter, try to escape or lock down in place, but should they come face to face with a shooter, it is a matter of doing whatever they can to get out of the situation.
“You can use anything. Anything out there can be used as a weapon and that’s what we do in case of a counter incident. We tell people start thinking about your surroundings, what you could use, anything can be a weapon,” said Green.
Josh Tissot, pastor at First United Methodist Church, says the training is timely.
“We have one of the members of the Wapakoneta police force that attends church here and he was just talking about how this could be a valuable training for people in our church and people in the community. Any chance we get to partner with other organizations in the community, we always try to take advantage of those,” said Tissot.
This training actually was planned months before the Texas church shooting.
“The tragic incident in Texas probably reminded us of the importance and really the value that our police force gives us by offering these trainings to help prepare us to be as safe as we can be,” said Tissot.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.