Michigan Church Incident Leads to More Efficient Security

Michigan Church Incident Leads to More Efficient Security

An incident that resulted in cancelled Sunday services leads to more effective security and advice from local police.

A recent incident at a Grand Haven, Mich. church that resulted in the cancellation of Sunday services is making church leaders and members think twice about security and ask for advice from local police. 

On the Sunday before the New Year, a 32-year-old man entered St. Patrick's-St. Anthony's Catholic Church where he destroyed a couple of televisions and a chair and attempted to attack an employee inside the building. 

The days' services were cancelled as a result of the fireworks the suspect had thrown around the perimeter of the church. Police needed to evacuate the area as Michigan State Police and explosive-sniffing K-9s checked the campus. 

"It's probably long overdue that the churches start paying attention to their security," Grand Haven Department of Public Safety Capt. Clint Holt said. "It's nothing against the churches, it's due to the circumstances in the world today."

The church does have automatic locking doors, but on the morning of the incident the doors were unlocked as employees readied themselves for the services. 

Holt advises the church to limit points of access for members and employees so security can keep a better eye on those coming and going from the building. 

"We have to take the precautions to keep out own people safe," Holt said. "The church is an attractive target for somebody who has ill intent."

This is because churches are soft targets with not many places to lock down for safety. 

Holt has conducted a number of active shooter trainings at local schools and businesses, all based on the avid/deny/defend principles. He has begun the training sessions at churches in the area as well.

"With a larger church, you have to be more trained people available," Hold said. "But, there are also more people you don't know. All this has to be taken seriously."


About the Author

Sydny Shepard is the Executive Editor of Campus Security & Life Safety.

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