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The choice of whether to use armed security, unarmed security, or combination/hybrid model is very individual to a house of worship and its unique culture. There are no “one size fits all” answer. What are the considerations you, as a security practitioner, need to think about when deciding about the prospect of firearms in your House of Worship?  This series will address these points and seek to equip you to make informed decisions about allowing or deliberately bringing firearms in your House of Worship.

  • With respect to the decision of using armed or unarmed security, how do houses of worship provide a welcoming and safe environment?
  • What are the many considerations for the use of armed security?
  • What are the many considerations for not using armed security?
  • With either policy position, what are some of the legal and liability considerations and how do those considerations impact adoption of either policy position?
  • With either policy position, what are some of the insurance and regulatory considerations and how do those considerations impact adoption of either policy position?

Watch the recording of the Program Overview

For more information about each session, please scroll down!

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Overview: Firearms in the House

Date: 03 January 2024

Time: 12pm ET

Do you use (or are you considering) using armed security in your HOW? Armed officers and congregants are an option – but not the only option – in the layered defense of our faith-based institutions. Have you considered all the aspects of engaging armed paid or volunteer security guards?  Do you allow legally armed congregants in your HoW? As a result, are you decreasing or *increasing* your risk? Our discussion series will bring subject matter experts on the topics for consideration to better inform your decision making on this complex issue.

A panel of Subject Matter Experts will discuss issues related to:

  • Liability
  • Regulations and licensing
  • Governance
  • Communications
  • Insurance
  • Training
  • Other salient considerations
Panelists
  • David Pounder, Senior Risk Analyst, Gate 15. David Pounder is Gate 15’s Director of Threat and Risk Analysis. He advises on both physical and cyber security issues.  Dave spent over 20 years in the Army as an Intelligence and Security Officer, specializing in counter-terrorism, force protection, and counterintelligence efforts as well as serving in the private sector for leading financial institutions responsible for information security and mobile applications. Dave twice served in senior command positions responsible for both counterintelligence operations and investigations.  He has briefed Senior Army Leadership on intelligence and security issues and operations to include General David Petraeus and General Martin Dempsey. David was a regular guest instructor at the Department of Defense Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy in Quantico, VA.  Dave graduated from George Mason University and from the US Army’s Command and General Staff College and has served internationally to include tours in Iraq, Cuba and Qatar.
  • John McCammon, Retired Security Director. Like many in the FB-ISAO, the majority of John’s career was not in full time house of worship security. In 2007 he began developing procedures for his local church volunteers to respond to threat events which eventually led to a full-time position at a very large church to develop and manage the security program and its volunteers.  He is now retired and offers no cost security program consulting to smaller houses of worship.  He is heavily involved in the development of a physical security maturity model with FB-ISAO and is also a member of the American Society of Industrial Security and InfraGard.
  • Dan Graeber, Vice President of Faith-Based Initiatives, CPPS. Vice President of Faith Based Initiatives for The Center for Personal protection and Safety, Inc. Dan is a native Texan with a passion for Violence Prevention, Intervention, and Mitigation. He has over 30 years in training and management. Having a diverse background in threat identification he helps companies, schools, and Houses of Worship identify best practices for identifying concerning behaviors and de-escalating heated encounters. He loves training!
  • Bill Cooper, Director of Security, Cedar Park Church. Bill is a security expert and a retired Chief of Police. Bill possesses vast experience in physical security, having done numerous assessments of business, schools, churches and other organizations. Bill writes policy and procedure, training programs for security and has conducted numerous threat assessments and risk management assessments. He is the current Director of Security for the Cedar Park churches and schools; he writes Emergency Operations Plans, Emergency Response Plans and consults with a number of other churches. Bill built a Threat Intelligence and Management program and has a team of experts to receive, assess and manage threats.
  • Phil Froehlich, Co-Chair of the Business Resilience Group. Phil is a founder and Chief Operating Officer of Integris Security where he manages the operational success of the company, leads partnership initiatives, and provides oversight on client engagements. He serves as an Advisor to both National and New York metro initiatives of InfraGard, an FBI public/private partnership for critical infrastructure protection. Phil is also very active in security initiatives for faith-based communities and regularly advises houses of worship and related institutions on physical and information security threats and safeguards.  He is a member of both the NJ Office of Homeland Security Interfaith Advisory Council and the US Secret Service Cyber Fraud Task Force.

Armed Considerations

Date: 07 February 2024

Time: 12pm ET

There are many options and considerations for allowing arms in the house. Regardless of what options are enacted, clearly crafted and enforceable policies must be developed so that security teams, leadership, parishioners, and guests know what to expect. Topics to be covered include:

  • The decision to use an armed security team requires a well thought out plan and involves a lot of moving pieces.
  • Armed security can be licensed, trained, certified and volunteer.
  • The considerations for each option (licensed, trained, certified and volunteer forces) and the circumstances where one method may be favorable than the other.
  • A discussion of the impact of state and local laws on the decision-making process.
Panelists
  • John McCammon, Retired Security Director. Like many in the FB-ISAO, the majority of John’s career was not in full time house of worship security. In 2007 he began developing procedures for his local church volunteers to respond to threat events which eventually led to a full-time position at a very large church to develop and manage the security program and its volunteers.  He is now retired and offers no cost security program consulting to smaller houses of worship.  He is heavily involved in the development of a physical security maturity model with FB-ISAO and is also a member of the American Society of Industrial Security and InfraGard.
  • Michael Mann, Brentwood Bible. Michael Mann, CPP®, PSP® provides houses of worship, Christian schools, home school tutorials, and other ministries with comprehensive physical security and emergency management services. Michael is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and civilian law enforcement, former bodyguard, corporate security director, designer of physical protection programs, and part-time educator for a private university. Michael is ASIS board certified in security management and physical security, and he provides both proprietary and contract teams with a wide range of training services.
  • Bill Cooper. Bill is a security expert and a retired Chief of Police. Bill possesses vast experience in physical security, having done numerous assessments of business, schools, churches and other organizations. Bill writes policy and procedure, training programs for security and has conducted numerous threat assessments and risk management assessments. He is the current Director of Security for the Cedar Park churches and schools; he writes Emergency Operations Plans, Emergency Response Plans and consults with a number of other churches. Bill built a Threat Intelligence and Management program and has a team of experts to receive, assess and manage threats.

Unarmed Considerations

Date: 06 March 2024

Time: 12pm ET

There are many ways to protect from the threat when not utilizing an armed force. The choice not to employ an armed security force still requires policies and procedures and a clearly crafted plan on how to mitigate the threat. In addition, we will explore the implement and use of other force mechanism and discuss ways to legally protect those that may end up having to use force that is unarmed.

  • What are some of the tools available to a security team that don’t involve use of force?
  • What methods are available to a security team should they need to use force?
  • What policies and procedures need to be in place to protect the security team in a situation where force is used?
  • What happens when a no force policy is implemented but someone uses force, to include use of arms, despite the policy?
  • Are there legal ramifications if force is not used and an attack does occur?
Panelists
  • Todd Richins, Church Security Department, Field Operations Division Director, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Todd Richins is the director of security operations for the United States and Canada. He has worked for the Church Security Department for 28 years. During that time, he’s been a security officer in property, visitor, and event protection, in personal protection, providing security for Church leaders, a security operations operator, and in many management positions, including Event Manager, Department Administrative Manager, and Protective Operations Director. Todd’s current team handles security issues for Church owned facilities including church buildings and temples located in the United States and Canada. His division also supports local church leaders, trains security staff, performs risk assessments, makes security staffing recommendations, makes physical security recommendations, and supports traveling leadership.
  • Dan Graeber, Consultant and Training Specialist. Dan Graeber is seasoned consultant and very well versed trainer. Dan is a native Texan who has over 30 years in training and management and spent much of that time traveling to over 95% of the U.S. and twenty-five other countries training key personnel on everything from visual technologies to personal defense. Having a diverse background in threat identification methods and technology he helps companies, schools, and Faith Based Organizations identify best practices for identifying concerning behaviors and de-escalating heated encounters. Dan has held positions as a Senior Consultant, VP – Faith Based Initiatives, Applications Engineer, General Manager, and Worldwide Training Manager. He has a unique approach to helping volunteers and employees feel valued and safe in their positions. He sees an organizations’ associates, volunteer or staff, as their most valued assets. Dan is a seasoned professional trainer in multiple industries, in which he has written trend setting curriculum. Dan is also a licensed Security Consultant and certifies Executive Protection officers and Uniformed Security.
  • Dave Johnston, DHS Supervisory Protective Security Advisor. Dave Johnston serves as a Supervisory Protective Security Advisor with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) working with the States of Maryland & Delaware and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He serves as a security and resiliency liaison between federal, state, local and industry partners across the public and private sectors; ensuring the protection of America’s critical infrastructure with a focus on the convergence of physical and cyber security. As a leader with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security since the organization’s inception in 2002, Mr. Johnston has been involved in aviation, maritime law enforcement, security and contingency operations worldwide. Prior to his position with CISA, Dave served as a career officer and aviator with the United States Military.
  • John McCammon, Retired Security Director. Like many in the FB-ISAO, the majority of John’s career was not in full time house of worship security. In 2007 he began developing procedures for his local church volunteers to respond to threat events which eventually led to a full-time position at a very large church to develop and manage the security program and its volunteers.  He is now retired and offers no cost security program consulting to smaller houses of worship.  He is heavily involved in the development of a physical security maturity model with FB-ISAO and is also a member of the American Society of Industrial Security and InfraGard.

Legal Considerations

Date: 03 April 2024

Time: 12pm ET

Legal minds will discuss the implications of both armed or unarmed security teams. Considerations and adoption of policies for either decision will be explored and discussed with the goal of preparing a house of worship to consider adjusting their policies and procedures, messaging, signage and to align with legal considerations.

  • What are the legal considerations (non-exhaustive) for having an unarmed security team?
  • What are the legal considerations (non-exhaustive) for having an armed security team?
  • How does one locate an attorney who is equipped to help craft an appropriate policy?
  • What liability issues (civil and or criminal) exist?
  • What are the regulatory issues and/or local legal parameters supporting or impeding this option?
  • What legal risks does a House of Worship expose itself to if it allows congregants or guests to carry firearms on premises?
  • What legal risks do individuals who carry firearms at houses of worship expose themselves to?
  • Do the legal risks to the individual vary depending on whether the individual is
    • Acting on behalf of the House of Worship in an official (policy based) capacity
Panelists (Additional Panelists to be Announced Soon)
  • U.S. Law Shield

Insurance Considerations

Date: 01 May 2024

Time: 12pm ET

Representatives associated with the insurance industry will discuss the implications of both armed or unarmed security teams. Considerations and adoption of policies for either decision will be explored and discussed with the goal of preparing a house of worship to consider adjusting their policies and procedures, messaging, signage and to align with legal considerations.

  • General Liability policy does NOT cover any of the teams working on the premises and certainly not the safety and security teams. So, what other instruments are there for insurance?
  • If there are labilities, typically, who is liable – the person or the facility?
  • A discussion of past claims statistics as a demonstration of where the liability has fallen.
  • A discussion of insurance costs (general) when considering both an armed and unarmed force.
  • Does the insurance industry require certification and training when an armed force is utilized?
  • How should a HoW communicate its position on the use of an armed or unarmed force?
Panelists (Additional Panelists to be Announced Soon)
  • Ben Johnson, Ben Johnson Insurance, Inc.

Round Table Discussion

Date: 05 June 2024

Time: 12pm ET

The series will culminate with panelists returning to share parting thoughts, respond to audience questions, address any changes in laws, governance, and regulations since their presentation, reflect on the topics covered and lessons learned through the series, and invite suggestions for future sessions.

  • What measures of success could be used to evaluate an armed security program?
  • What measures of success could be used to evaluate an unarmed security program?
Panelists
  • All program panelists
The FB-ISAO takes no position on this question, other than to promote best practices in pursuit of the House of Worship's objectives and implementation of any appropriate model. The series sets out to answer some of these questions.
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