Charleston shooting raises question about security in churches

Charleston shooting raises question about security in churches

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Congregations around the Chattahoochee Valley are coming together for their first Wednesday night services since the tragedy at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston one week ago.

In wake of last week's fatal shooting of nine people, pastors across the country and here in Columbus are re-evaluating their safety.

"We are consulting companies as it relates to having armed security," explains Pastor Joseph Baker of St. James AME Church in Columbus.

Since last Wednesday, the historic St. James AME Church has had a undercover police officer attend each service.

They are also in the process of changing the locks.

"We have to change those locks over to become panic bars so the people who are in (the building) can exit, but those on the outside are not able to gain entry," says Baker.

Solid Rock Church in Midland has two Columbus Police officers attend each of their services.

They also have a security team stationed inside and outside of the sanctuary.

"We haven't seen any significant changes, but we have made our in house security very aware, so we are in the position to handle anything that may come our way in a proactive manor," says Solid Rock Connections Pastor Trish Wilkinson.

As the nation continues to grieve the loss life due to a senseless act of violence, church leaders emphasize their open door policy, and say the safety of their church members are their number one priority.

Copyright 2015 WTVM. All rights reserved.