Question about Church Safety Teams

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jmra
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Question about Church Safety Teams

Postby jmra » Thu Nov 09, 2017 12:23 am

Please forgive me if this topic is being discussed elsewhere and if it is direct me to it and close this thread.
I had a very long in depth conversation with a person leading a church safety team this evening and I need some help clearing up some things. Before the last legislative session, this person was in the process of establishing a security company and encouraging church members to go through training to become licensed under the security company. The thought process was this would allow the team to perform duties that current law prohibited organized church teams from performing (these activities have been discussed and debated extensively on the forum). There are issues with this approach that I will address later.
Since the changes passed in the last legislative session the thought process is that the law now allows a church to train an armed security team without fulfilling any of the requirements of state licensed security. Policy being established to be part of the team includes mandatory firearm training on multiple levels and the possession of a LTC badge (to be displayed in the event a firearm was displayed) whenever serving.
I have great concerns about this approach and what I believed to be the legislative intent (about which I could be completely wrong) in the changes made regarding Church Safety Teams.
So as I see it there were two issues addressed:
1. Many functions performed by church members such as greeters, ushers, parking lot teams could be interpreted as "security functions" which were by law prohibited unless you were licensed by the state.
2. An LTC holder would have to forfeit the ability to carry a firearm while performing any of these services as being armed while doing so was strictly prohibited.
The changes addressed these issues by allowing church safety teams to provide "security services" and assuming the church approved, allowed the member to remain armed under the LTC authority while doing so.
I see a very distinct difference between a church safety team being eyes and ears in the auditorium and parking lot as opposed to a trained security team. I stated my belief that the intent of allowing a safety team member to carry a firearm under his LTC was not to allow him to function as an armed security guard, but rather (God forbid) a situation arouse that required him to defend himself or a third party as provided by state law, he would be able to do so just as if he were any other church member with a LTC sitting in a pew. I believe this is specifically why no additional training was required by the state. Church safety team members can not wear uniforms or any other insignia that would identify them as security in any way.
Now lets compare that to state licensed security. As I understand it there are several different levels that can be obtained all requiring varying levels of training including uniformed unarmed, uniformed and armed, and personal protection officer which would be plain clothes and armed. I mentioned earlier that I would detail the problems I had with the licensed security approach:
1. The church likes having a couple of uniformed officers present during services but limits the numbers due to the fact that they don't want to overwhelm people with their presence.
2. Uniformed LEO present a different assumed perception of authority than uniformed security guards.
3. Due to 1 & 2, the only benefit to state licensing would be level 4 personal protection officers. The problem here is that they have to be assigned to protect an individual as opposed to the general congregation.
I believe the differences between a church safety team and armed security is very clear. I also believe that if the legislature had intended for armed safety team members to act as an armed security force it would have required members to undergo the same training as licensed armed security officers.
I also have to wonder if requiring additional firearm training does not constitute the carrying of a firearm as part of the duties of a safety team member which as I have stated earlier I do not believe was the intent of the law makers and also believe opens the church up to additional liability if a member did use his firearm while performing a security function.
What I have suggested is to let the safety team continue to be a safety team. Members wanting to carry under the authority of their LTC should be allowed to do so but only to protect themselves or a third party as allowed by state law just as they would if they weren’t serving as part of the safety team. Any required training should focus on identifying potential issues and conflict resolution/deescalation.
I fully support firearm training and believe anyone carrying a firearm should get as much as they can. However I believe requiring additional firearm training in order to be part of a safety team is a slippery slope and effectively constitutes the formation of an armed security force which should be licensed by the state.
Don't hold back, if you think I'm splitting hairs please let me know.

Thanks.
Edited to correct spelling
Last edited by jmra on Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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warnmar10
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Re: Question about Church Safety Teams

Postby warnmar10 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 12:55 am

I agree with you.

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rtschl
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Re: Question about Church Safety Teams

Postby rtschl » Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:50 am

jmra,

I only have time to answer part now but I think your premise prior to the change in law is not correct. But you bring up some interesting points about the change in la

jmra wrote:
1. Many functions performed by church members such as greeters, ushers, parking lot teams could be interpreted as "security functions" which were by law prohibited unless you were licensed by the state. I disagree. These are not security functions and would not pass any reasonability test as such. Prior to the change in the law you could do those functions and be armed - an usher or greeter etc. is not a security guard whether armed or not. What you could not do was organize and perform security tasks and functions i.e. guard activities such as posting an armed person to watch over the nursery or at the entrances as their function.
2. An LTC holder would have to forfeit the ability to carry a firearm while performing any of these services as being armed while doing so was strictly prohibited. Again, I think your premise here is incorrect - unless said people in those positions were organizing, training, planning to perform security functions. If serving in a clearly normal church role required you to do "security" work - then I would agree. But if the door greeter is armed and an assailant tries to use a weapon, that doesn't mean the greeter is providing security because he uses his gun carrying under LTC.


I agree with you about the benefit of Level IV PPO - but there is the other issue you mentioned - liability. If you are licensed the company has to be licensed AND insured. Small to medium churches, which are the majority, do not have the resources to go that route. The change in law removed the legal threat of violating the Private Security Act of the Occupation Code. The possibility of a liability issue is present in any use of force whether in a church or anywhere else. I do not think this change in law increases that liability nor does it if the volunteers train more in firearms use. I would think it could limit liability because you are going above and beyond what is required by law to be as safe and proficient as possible.

In short, so long as it is volunteer (no pay) and you do not do the prohibited: i.e. wearing a uniform or badge that contains the word “security” or gives the appearance of being a LEO, PPO, or security officer then any extra training etc. then I do not see how said training increases liability.
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Re: Question about Church Safety Teams

Postby jmra » Thu Nov 09, 2017 7:19 am

rtschl wrote:jmra,

I only have time to answer part now but I think your premise prior to the change in law is not correct. But you bring up some interesting points about the change in la

jmra wrote:
1. Many functions performed by church members such as greeters, ushers, parking lot teams could be interpreted as "security functions" which were by law prohibited unless you were licensed by the state. I disagree. These are not security functions and would not pass any reasonability test as such. Prior to the change in the law you could do those functions and be armed - an usher or greeter etc. is not a security guard whether armed or not. What you could not do was organize and perform security tasks and functions i.e. guard activities such as posting an armed person to watch over the nursery or at the entrances as their function.
2. An LTC holder would have to forfeit the ability to carry a firearm while performing any of these services as being armed while doing so was strictly prohibited. Again, I think your premise here is incorrect - unless said people in those positions were organizing, training, planning to perform security functions. If serving in a clearly normal church role required you to do "security" work - then I would agree. But if the door greeter is armed and an assailant tries to use a weapon, that doesn't mean the greeter is providing security because he uses his gun carrying under LTC.


I agree with you about the benefit of Level IV PPO - but there is the other issue you mentioned - liability. If you are licensed the company has to be licensed AND insured. Small to medium churches, which are the majority, do not have the resources to go that route. The change in law removed the legal threat of violating the Private Security Act of the Occupation Code. The possibility of a liability issue is present in any use of force whether in a church or anywhere else. I do not think this change in law increases that liability nor does it if the volunteers train more in firearms use. I would think it could limit liability because you are going above and beyond what is required by law to be as safe and proficient as possible.

In short, so long as it is volunteer (no pay) and you do not do the prohibited: i.e. wearing a uniform or badge that contains the word “security” or gives the appearance of being a LEO, PPO, or security officer then any extra training etc. then I do not see how said training increases liability.

You may be right I only used those examples because those are the ones our lawyers used with us when we asked thim to evaluate if we were in violation of the code. But lawyers will be lawyers. I still believe the intent of the law is to allow churches to do what they were already doing without the threat of prosecution. And BTW, we aren’t going to remove your ability to protect yourself and others as allowed under your LTC while your doing it.
That being said, I have a hard time believing the state is saying you can be a duck, you just can’t look like a duck, walk like a duck, or quack like a duck. It will be interesting to see what happens when safety team members start carrying handcuffs and building detention cells.
Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid.
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