With churches taking another look at their security, a former law officer is gathering members of North Texas congregations together to help them improve security in their houses of worship.
John Hart says the images from the Sutherland Springs church shooting broke his heart. The fear of that happening at his church in Arlington is one of the main reasons he's attending a Mass Shooting Response Seminar.
“Being in a house of God and asking somebody to do something uncomfortable or leave potentially when they're viewed as a threat — it's a tough decision to make sometimes,” he said.
After several years in law enforcement, Bryan Proctor has been training people for the worst scenarios. Over the past few days, church security strategy is in high demand. About 80 percent of those registered for Thursday’s seminar were there on behalf of a church.
"The situation in the church dawned on them,” Proctor explained. “And they said, ‘Hey, this is something that absolutely can happen at any time.’"
Ed Martin is part of his church's security team. What he saw in South Texas strengthened his resolve to learn more about the unthinkable.
"Anybody can come in,” Martin said. “I mean you never know. Just like down there, walk in anytime so I’m gonna be ready."
The challenge for the parishioners is to be welcoming but cautious and to provide security that is present but not overly visible.
"We have really been urging our people to be very aware,” said church member Treva Martin. “Not just of where they are and what they consider a safe place, but to really stop and consider what might happen at any given point in time.”