COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - With the church shooting in Charleston just two weeks ago and investigations into several suspicious church fires at black churches across the south, some churches and their members are on high alert with safety concerns.
The Muscogee County Marshal's Office is offering free training to these establishments.
The Muscogee County Marshal's Office says 38 percent of churches have consistent security screening in place, 32 percent have a security plan in place, but do not always follow it, and 30 percent stated they did not have a security plan in place at all.
A big reason the Marshal's office is offering free training to Churches in Muscogee County. Churches outside of Muscogee County can also register but they may be charged a traveling fee.
In light of the church shooting and recent church fires, local pastors say that continuing to keep security a priority is important.
"We've always had bomb threats, we've always had fire threats this is nothing new so I think my view on security has never changed," said Greater Saint Mark A.M.E. Senior Pastor Kevin Moore.
He encourages churches to install surveillance cameras. Pointing out how critical they were in helping to identify the Charleston church shooter.
"Try to put together a complete risk management plan. That includes background checks for workers in the church, surveillance systems. Also incorporating security whether uniformed security or undercover security in the church environment," says Pastor Vince Allen. who has always made security a priority.
The Marshal's office is still accepting registrations for evening church safety training called "Do You Know Who's In Your Church." If interested please call 706-225-4385.