Having Faith In Security

An inter-faith sub-council has put its first foot forward in establishing a group of security and cultural professionals within ASIS. Let’s face it -- having faith isn’t always enough when it comes to protecting houses of worship from criminals.

The Faith-based Organization Security Council plans to address security risks and needs of houses of worship to develop best practices and standards.

According to Jeffrey Hawkins, executive director of the Christian Security Network and chairman of the FBO Council, organizing this group is a direct result of violence and other crimes against churches and faith-based organizations.

Apparently, nothing is sacred any more. Searching scripture, one will find that vicious attacks against people of faith and their houses of worship is nothing new.

“We want to have all faiths represented so we can effectively develop comprehensive standards and guidelines, and tackle issues that all religions are facing now and in the future,” Hawkins said.

ASIS International is the umbrella organization, which helps more than 30 organizations made up of volunteer security, law enforcement and military staff from banking, education, pharmaceutical, retail, transportation and utilities. This is the first dedicated organization to focus on faith-based groups.

It would seem then, that faith without good hard work is dead. So representatives from various groups will put security into action. The group has already recruited members from the Christian, Jewish, Mormon and Muslim faiths, which will help build communication and trust.

Once the trust factor is established, security won’t be far behind. But since the common goal is protecting houses of worship and its many congregants, the organization will be able to identify risks that they all seem to face, including violent crimes, arson and internal theft.

Standards can be written and implemented with guidelines to enhance security. The group is currently working on a resource guide, which will provide insight and instruction for developing safety teams, assessing risks, identifying potential dangers and protecting high-profile religious leaders.

About the Author

Ralph C. Jensen is editor-in-chief of Security Products magazine.

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