WARREN, Mich. (WJBK) - After 20 people were killed in a small Texas church earlier this month by a madman with a gun, houses of worship in Warren are getting serious about security.
It could happen anywhere - that's what Warren police are teaching nearly 100 church leaders across Warren.
"Since the tragic shooting in Charleston, South Carolina a couple years ago and the recent one in Texas, it's better to be be prepared rather than unprepared," Mayor Jim Fouts said.
Leaders listened intently to specific instructions, specifically how to hide in case it happens to them and ways to identify potentially dangerous behavior.
"You can flee, you can fight or you can freeze. We don't want people to freeze," Fouts said.
The statistics don't lie: in the past decade, there have been 147 shootings in churches.
"Gun violence is on the increase, mass shootings on the increase," police commissioner Bill Dwyer said. "It's gonna happen again. It's only a matter of time before it happens again. It could be Warren. It could be Roseville. It could be Grosse Pointe. it could be anywhere in this country."
Warren police instructed the group to prepare for anything and to act quickly: escape first, hide second, and defend yourself as your last option.
They showed heartbreaking images and videos of other mass shootings that left many people attending very shaken.
"It was really an informative session that we were having. Ours is a small church but at the same time we are also concerned about what's going on in socially." George Vammilam said.
Mayor Fouts and Warren Police are stressing that it's better to be prepared than scared. Fouts says this is just the beginning of the city's plan to combat potentially violent attacks.
"We're going to make this one of the safest cities in the country," Fouts said.
Wednesday's training is just phase one of the program. In the next phase, police will go out to each place of worship to give in-depth and tailored presentations.