Church leaders receive active shooter training after suspicious incidents

Police looking into suspicious activity at churches in Troy  where they found people appearing to scope out the building.

They are taking no chances, teaching local houses of worship how to prevent and stop potential attacks at a forum Tuesday night.

No matter what your faith, you can always have a plan. That was the take-away as the Troy police played host to a number of churches and places of worship to talk about preventing crime or worse, a mass shooting. 

In a room full of church-going people, faith isn’t the only thing they have in common - illustrated bluntly in a department of Homeland Security video they were shown.

It can happen to anyone, anywhere - churches included.

"Sometimes criminals seek out a spot where people are trusting and a church can fit that profile," said Sgt. Meghan Lehman.

It is training Troy police provide to all houses of worship in the city twice a year.

"What plan can you have when someone is out to get you," said Freddie Abro, St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church.

Which is exactly why usher Glen Webster came out.

"We need to prepare ourselves in case there is an incident," said Webster of Woodlawn Baptist Church in Troy.

Police lay a foundation, offer advice. what each place of worship does with it is up to them.

"We think church security can make their own decisions," said Lehman. "We provide them with the info they need."

This seminar is planned out well in advance but it comes on the heels of reported suspicious activity at two churches in the last two months.

"We conducted an investigation," Lehman said. "And cleared the people that were involved in those. We just want to emphasize that we do run across suspicious incidents like that all the time. Most of the time they turn out to be nothing of concern, but we are happy to investigate."

Police say it gets about six calls for suspicious activity a day and of those only about 10 percent  turn out to be criminal activity. But they are happy to check out each call. that’s what they are there for.

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