Byers church gets security tips from Sheriff

(Source:KAUZ)
(Source:KAUZ)
(Source:KAUZ)
(Source:KAUZ)

The deadly church shooting in Sutherland Springs has churches all over Texoma taking action when it comes to beefing up security.

We first told you about Byers First Assembly of God Pastor James Keenum last week, and how he is reviewing his church's security.

Now he is working with the Clay County Sheriff to protect his church family.

"When you're a pastor you're the shepherd of the church," said Pastor Keenum. "That means that you have to protect, you have to watch over and you have to care for their needs."

He said this is something he takes very seriously, and so does Sheriff Lemons.

"We've got to protect ourselves and protect our family," said Sheriff Lemons. "The tragedy in Sutherland Springs taught us that it can happen in any small town in America, and it happened to happen in Texas."

The two met up to talk about what needs some work and what is working when it comes to the church's security.

Like the doors into the sanctuary. Sheriff Lemon said it is good that Pastor Keenum keeps all those doors locked, except for one.

"So you only have one door to watch," said Sheriff Lemons.

Something both men say is good advice for all churches, in order to keep intruders out.

"They would have to come in one way, so we would know exactly where they would be coming in at," said Pastor Keenum. 

Other tips the sheriff is where to put hall monitors and extra lighting.

"All of these things come into play that make it really a hindrance for someone to just come right in," said Sheriff Lemons.

Another concern they talked about is the church's location. It is right off of Highway 79, a road with a lot of traffic and two ways out of town.

"It's easy for someone to get in and get out, you could be north or south very quickly," said Sheriff Lemons.

He adds with many Texoma churches close to highways it is something they all need to think about.

Pastor Keenum hopes adding video surveillance will help his church alleviate this issue.

"Every door will be monitored by camera, the parking lot will be monitored," said Pastor Keenum.

He said they are probably going to have them in the church's sanctuary. He adds even though it may cost a little extra, an estimated $2,000, is is money well spent.

"You have peace of mind, you have security and it gives you a certain confidence," he said.

Sheriff Lemons said something that is necessary, following the recent tragedy.

"It can happen in Clay County, it can happen in Wichita Falls, Iowa Park, Burkburnett, Archer County or Montague."

However, Pastor Keenum said it is not going to stop him and his church members from worshiping and having faith.

"Sunday is coming again, I'm not afraid of it, we're not afraid of it, but we want to be prepared for it and be as safe as we can," he said.

Pastor Keenum said he is also getting a church security team together and feels right now is the time to be proactive, a reason why he brought in Sheriff Lemons.

The Sheriff said he is happy to help and has been talking to churches about security measures like these for about three years. He adds talking about these kind sof things can be lifesaving.

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