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Area Churches Take Lessons From The Past, Prepare For The Future - KOAM TV 7

Area Churches Take Lessons From The Past, Prepare For The Future

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CARTHAGE, Mo. -

     Church officials from across the four state region took part in a special security training session tonight in Carthage.
On August 12th, 2007, Eiken Siamon entered the church where the Micronesian congregation met, and opened fire...killing Kernal Rehobson and two others.
Jerid Davis, Associate Pastor - Lighthouse Ministries, Seneca, Mo: "That was the eye opener for us, when that happened in Neosho, that was really the thing, and at that point we started kinda setting up our church to where we could be more secure than what we were."
A few years later, Jasper County Deputies Rob Jobe and Mike Schuster developed a plan to help secure churches in the area...but they were going church to church to church, and running out of resources.
That's when they decided to hold this special training session, inviting churches to come to them.
Sgt. Tim Williams, Jasper County Sheriff's Office: "We limited the class to 60 seats, and we had those seats fill up in less than 12 hours."
Those seats went to folks like Jerid Davis, the Associate Pastor at Lighthouse Ministries in Seneca.
Davis: "We wanna make sure that our church is a safe place to be, you know, we wanna be prepared for anything that would happen."
The plan includes parts of a FEMA book that's issued, and is added to the combined 30 years law enforcement experience Jobe and Schuster have.
Williams: "A lot of these people are going to have the same questions, and they have an opportunity to ask the question to one of the trainers, where you can't do that with a book."
The training includes developing a security team, which doesn't necessarily mean an armed team, to help watch the doors and parking lot and keep an eye out for suspicious activity.
Davis hopes other churches will join in.
Davis: "I think other churches are definitely going to get on board with this and just try to create as safe an environment as we can have."
     Sergeant Williams told us the hope is to have more sessions in the future.

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Chris Warner
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A Joplin native, Chris first started in broadcasting at age 16 at KSNF-TV in 2004..

Chris joined the KOAM team in 2017 as an Associate Producer. In April, he moved into a full-time reporter position. He spent time from 2008 to 2016 in various retail roles around the region before returning to his passion at KOAM. Chris is excited to continue telling the stories of the four states. Chris and his wife Amber live in Joplin and have three amazing children.

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