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I would like to share with you all the first two chapters of a proposed safety and security plan that I am working on for my church. I share my work with you freely, you have my permission to use any or all of it as long as you credit or acknowledge me for the work. This is a draft work it has not been proof read so there may be some errors I would accept any commints anyone would have.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
THE WRITTEN POLICIES OF
SUNNYSIDE CHRISTIAN CHURCH
A Colorado Non-Profit Corporation
THE GATEKEEPERS MINISTRY
"But I will defend my house against marauding forces. Never again will an oppressor overrun my people, for now I am keeping watch.” (NIV)
Sunnyside Christian Church
2025 N. Murray Blvd
Colorado Springs, CO 80915
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION
WOLVES, SHEEP, AND THE GOOD SHEPHERD
IDENTIFYING THE DANGERS
DANGERS THAT THREATEN A CHURCH
THE TIMES WE LIVE IN
THE NEED TO ACT
LAWS AND REGULATIONS
PUBLIC POLICY STATEMENT
CHAPTER 2 THE SAFETY AND SECURITY PLAN
CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION
Sunnyside Christian Church is a Bible believing nondenominational Christian Church. We believe the Bible is the living word of God, used to teach the will of God to all humans, and is a guide to all Christian believers in the ways of Christian living.
We believe the elders and ministers are appointed as chief stewards of Gods house and the Shepherd’s of Gods flock. We believe this appointment carries with it a great responsibility to safeguard all that which God has entrusted into our care; this includes all property, finances as well as the lives and well-being of those who enter into the house of our Lord.
In the animal world wolves are aggressive predators; they devour their prey and can fend for themselves. In the human world, thieves are metaphorically referred to as wolves because they too are predators that prey on people.
In the animal world, sheep are timid; they look for cover and protection, they cower in times of danger, they are communal. In the human world Christ referrers to his followers as sheep.
A good shepherd would not neglect his responsibility to an animal flock by allowing it to be devoured by wolves neither should a minister allow a thief to prey and terrorize the congregation which is Christ’s flock. A good example is King David who was the shepherd of his father’s sheep; a lion and a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, he went out after it, struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; when it arose against him, he caught it by its beard, struck it, and killed it.
The book of Proverbs provides divine guidance and wisdom for us to live by; it instructs us on the conduct of a prudent person. A prudent person is a person who is wise and careful, one who uses forethought and caution before acting. For prudent people to act wisely and with forethought these people must have an understanding of the times in which they live and the dangers they face. In the first part of Proverbs 22:3 we are told that a prudent person foresees danger and avoids it. To foresee danger and the damages it causes is to recognize a threat or the warning signs of a threat. To avoid danger is to take action ahead of time, to protect against the threat, or to defend against it, or, being prepared to survive the threat afterwards. The Bible has taught us and therefore has forewarned us of the troubling times and the dangers facing the church that will precede the second coming of Christ, evil will increase, the earth will shake, death and destruction will abound. “But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat”. Nehemiah 4:9NIV
IDENTIFYING THE DANGERS
Danger as we know it is defined as someone or something that can cause injury, harm, or loss. It is not limited to physical injury to people or damage to property it also includes emotional distress and financial losses. The threats facing our church can be categorized as either “Natural” or “Manmade. These threats come from from three sources. First, there are the many natural physical forces in and around the earth such as earthquakes, floods, volcanoes, violent storms or droughts that causes famine, (1 Kings 19:11-13). Then there are the natural threats such as wild animals or the deadliest threats that are biological that create plagues, and last are the acts created by men doing evil both violent and non-violent. Jesus Christ told his disciples as recorded in Matthew 10:16 NIV “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” In addition, the disciple Paul warned us in the book of Philippians 3:2NIV "Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of those mutilators of the flesh!”
DANGERS THAT THREATEN THE CHURCH
Natural forces- Natural forces such as earthquakes, tornados, floods, droughts and the like, threaten every community on earth to one degree or another at some time and without much warning. While they can completely destroy buildings and cause massive death, and destruction they normally unite communities. Even though no defense is available to prevent these disasters, efforts can be taken to mitigate the losses and allow the church and the community to recover more quickly.
Plagues- Plagues are epidemic diseases normally biological in nature; they can take many forms such as pandemic flu virus, smallpox and the like, they can bring widespread death to communities and the church body. Today the world is facing threats from the avian and swine flu. As of October 2009 there have already been over one thousand deaths related to the swine flu in the United States alone with many of the deaths being young children.
Marauding forces: Crimes- The crimes committed by career type criminals, like drug dealers/users, street gangs and opportunists. The criminal acts that these people engage in are numerous they range from theft to murder. Some of the goals of these types of crimes are to intimidate, terrorize, instill fear, and impose power over people. When these people come, they come with armed force and they will not hesitate to kill or wound to get away.
Marauding forces are not the only threat of criminal activity facing the church today. In recent times, the church has been attacked from within by trusted individuals assigned to minister, teach, or conduct administrative duties as well as from distraught members of the congregation. The people that commit the most criminal acts in a church are “wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing”. They maybe members of the church that have taken advantage of an opportunity presented to them, many of them have suffered a severe hardship that has degraded their emotional and spiritual well being, most of them are volunteers and staff members.
THE TIMES WE LIVE IN
Crimes against churches are on the rise. On July 7, 2009 the organization known as the Christian Security Network (CSN) released the first of its kind report titled, “Churches At-Risk: Mid-Year Crime Report Highlights Loss of Life and Property”.
This report brings to life the reality of the times we live in today and some of the most serious threats facing American churches today. According to this report in the first six months of 2009, 472 incidents of criminal acts in 42 states were documented, and CSN believes this number is under reported by 4-5 times and is estimated to be a 10 fold increase since 2004. 17 of the incidents reported by Christian churches thus far in 2009 are classified as violent crimes; six of these violent acts have resulted in 23 deaths. Additionally, churches have lost more than $6.3 million in property loss due to burglary, theft, robbery, arson and vandalism. According to the report, burglaries accounted for 64 percent of the crimes against churches, a devastating blow for many churches already impacted by losses due to the economic downturn. Arson and general theft were the second and third most common crimes, accounting for 13 percent and 7 percent of the incidents respectively. These marauding forces are no longer the only threat facing the church; today the church is subject to civil litigation.
At one time not so long ago churches benefited from statutory or judicial grants of immunity that shielded them from civil liability lawsuits; those days are quickly disappearing. Over the past twenty years, our country has seen an explosion in lawsuits against churches. 1984 saw the first lawsuit brought against a church for negligence concerning a minister who molested a child, now there are thousands of allegations of sexual abuse filed against churches every year. Statistics show that approximately 1 percent of all churches have been sued over acts of sexual abuse or misconduct.
Today a full spectrum of lawsuits is regularly being filed against churches for everything from property disputes to misappropriation of church funds to slip and fall injuries to work place harassment; each with the potential to bring multimillion-dollar judgments or settlements. The top lawsuits filed against churches today are civil suits based on:
(a) Negligence based on premises liability (Slip and fall, inadequate security, negligent hiring of employees, negligent supervision of employees)
(b) Sexual harassment and misconduct
(c) Property disputes
(e) Disclosure of confidential information
Of all of the possible threats that can harm the church, two of the greatest threats, involve a “Breach of Trust” and “False Accusations” as these acts attack the core values of a church and can cause great emotional distress to all involved.
False accusations are more than just lies; they are complaints that lead to criminal charges and civil lawsuits. These claims of wrongdoing are incredibly devastating and can even be life threatening. The most common false accusations involve acts of a sexual nature. A false accusation puts an innocent person on the wrong side of the law and forces that person to prove his innocence. Most of the time it is impossible to prove innocence as there was an “opportunity” and no witnesses. When a person is falsely accused, it places that person in a highly emotional state of mind that can perpetuate extreme reactions ranging from rage to suicide. It will most often lead to domestic relationship trauma, that can perpetuate domestic violence and then to a divorce, bankruptcy, depression, and can end in suicide or murder/suicide.
Fear is one of humanities strongest emotions. Fear triggers the fight or flight response for the human body to survive danger. Fear can also be one of the greatest enemies of humanity; this is because fear can cause extreme emotional distress; this stress can causes people to act irrationally to a nonexistent threat or to a perceived threat. Perception can distort reality.
THE NEED TO ACT
The city government of Colorado Springs is under extreme financial duress and forced to make cuts to all city services including police and fire. That means extended response times answering calls. This in turn allows more time for criminal activities and provides less protection to so called “soft targets”
Our nation has been at war for over eight years fighting against international terrorists with no foreseeable end. Our nation has developed a public safety policy, warning everyone to prepare for all emergencies. Emergency agencies at all levels of government have warned us that during large disasters public services may be delayed and to prepare for such situations.
Every day, people are subjected to acts of violence and every day the news reports on these stories repeatedly, thus straining the emotional well-being of people in our community. Feelings of safety and being secure from the dangers of life are basic physical and emotional needs of all humans; they are necessary for each of us to be at peace and to have tranquility. To the vast majority of people a “Church” represents a refuge, a safe haven, and a sanctuary from the troubles of this world. If the people in our communities including the church congregation perceive they are in danger when they visit the church, attendance will suffer greatly.
The dangers facing the church today have been identified and the threat is real. Thirty years ago the threats from criminal acts and civil suits represented a very small risk to churches and their community, but now these attacks are not just acts that impact a local church body today these attacks have a direct and adverse impact on the community in which the church resides.
Today civil suits and criminal acts represent a clear and present danger to the survival of all churches everywhere and are a detriment to their communities. We have been warned of the dangers facing the church and the Bible has provided instructions on how to respond to these threats (1 Peter 5:8 "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." )NIV
Losses from crimes and civil suits are inevitable. However, the greatest harm from these acts is not the loss of money as most of the losses can be recovered from insurance. The greatest harm from criminal acts and civil suit are the psychological damage people suffer, as these people perceive harm or a threat of harm to be greater than it truly is, or who suffered a traumatic event and have become emotionally distraught over the event.
The church will not be able to complete its mission to save souls if it cannot safeguard its own house.
The authority of the church leadership to develop and implement a safety and security plan comes directly from our heavenly Father. Isaiah 52:1 “Awake, awake, O Zion, clothe yourself with strength. Put on your garments of splendor, O Jerusalem, the holy city. The uncircumcised and defiled will not enter you again.”
The Bible gives us guidance in a way to deal with threats of harm and that is to be proactive, to take positive steps to mitigate and lessen the harm before a threat happens. One of the methods in which the Lord established this protection is found in the book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah rebuilt the wall of protection that surrounded the city of Jerusalem and in Chapter 7 verse 3 he appointed residents of Jerusalem as watchmen, some were posted in the watchtowers on the wall and others near their own houses. (A modern-day security guard) The gatekeepers numbered 172 men and stood watch at the gates. (Nehemiah 11:19)
The positive aspects and effectiveness of a security team to deter criminal activity are well known and well documented as security personnel are the front line defense to criminal activity. However, their effectiveness to mitigate the losses from civil lawsuits is limited.
Despite the best intentions and the best efforts of all, no act of “Man” can prevail over the evil desires of others. We need divine guidance and protection to prevail where “Man’s” shortcomings come to light. However, the duty to be wise stewards of Gods house is a calling that is only on the shoulders of the leadership of a church. Furthermore, God has empowered each of us to take charge of our lives and that which He has provided to us. While accidents and incidents can, and do happen, a comprehensive loss prevention program can be instrumental in reducing the occurrence and impact of serious accidents, injuries, and claims.
God has blessed each of us with special skills and He expects us to use our skills wisely. When a duty is imposed on the church and that duty interferes with the pastoral duties of the elders and pastors it is appropriate to appoint skilled workers to oversee such work, (see Acts 6:1-7).
As good stewards and good shepherds of Gods house it is necessary for Sunnyside Christian Church to take administrative action to safeguard the finances of the church and the welfare of all who enter into the house of the Lord.
As good stewards and good shepherds of Gods house Sunnyside Christian Church should enact a comprehensive written safety and security plan and appoint a team leader and a team of dedicated and trained church members to carry out the written directives of the church leadership, to minimize potential losses to the church and its people.
Security: The state or feeling of being safe and protected.
Emergency: An unexpected and sudden event that must be dealt with urgently.
Disaster: An event that causes serious loss, destruction, hardship, unhappiness, or death.
Preparedness: State of full readiness- ready for action.
Safety: Protection from, or not being exposed to, the risk of harm or injury.
Hazards: Something that is potentially very dangerous.
Marauding forces: To rove around carrying out violent attacks or looking for plunder, or raid a place in search of plunder.
Danger: Somebody or something that may cause harm, injury, or loss.
Private Security Officer: A person employed or engaged by a private security agency to provide security services. This definition shall apply to the owner, agent or principal of a contract security agency who also performs security services for any contract security agency. (Colorado Springs City Code)
Proprietary Security Organization: A business, which operates a security department which has as its general purpose the protection and security of the business's own property, and personnel and who does not offer or provide security services to any other person or entity. (Colorado Springs City Code)
Security Services: Those services which include, but are not limited to, the prevention of burglary, robbery, theft, shoplifting, criminal mischief, arson, assault or trespass, and the observation, investigation, detection and/or reporting of incidents to prevent or deter any unlawful or unauthorized activity, the control, regulation or direction of the flow or movements of persons on private property, whether by vehicle, by foot or otherwise. (Colorado Springs City Code)
Foreseeability: is a statistical evaluation incorporating the type of premises, the crime demographics of the premises and its immediate vicinity, and the location of the crime or assault. Foreseeability weights "prior similar acts" most heavily in establishing whether a reasonable person would have anticipated the occurrence of such a crime, however courts are increasingly willing to consider a wider statistical framework that may include a history of complaints about premises security and any physical characteristics of the premises that, through deterioration or lack of upkeep or modernization, may invite criminal activity. For example, a 2 a.m. rape in the dark parking lot behind a nightclub has a high foreseeability factor relative to a similar crime in the well-lit stairwell at a retirement home.
LAWS/REGULATIONS AND STANDARDS
Colorado Revised Statutes
CRS 13-21-115 Colorado Premises Liability Statute
Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA)
2006 Sunrise review “Private Security Companies and Private Security Guards”
Colorado Springs City Code
Chapter 2 Article 3 Part 2 “Private Security Services”
Colorado common law (case law)
The Restatement (Second) of Torts §344 Business Premises Open to Public: Acts of third Persons or Animals
A possessor of land who holds it open to the public for entry for his business purposes is subject to liability to members of the public while they are upon the land for such purpose, for physical harm caused by the accidental, negligent, or intentionally harmful acts of third persons or animals, and by the failure of the possessor to exercise reasonable care:
(a) Discover that such acts are being done or are likely to be done, or
(b) Give a warning adequate to enable the visitors to avoid the harm or otherwise to protect them against it.
(note f ….If the place or character of his business, or his past experience, is such that he should reasonably anticipate careless or criminal conduct on the part of third persons, either generally or at some particular time, he may be under a duty to take precautions against it and to provide a reasonably sufficient number of servants to afford a reasonable protection.
KERBY v. FLAMINGO CLUB 35 Colo. App. 127, 532 P.2d 975 Dec. 17, 1974
Duty of property owners to protect patrons extends to parking lot.
TACO BELL INC v. LANNON, 744 P.2d 43 Oct 5, 1987
The Colorado Supreme Court expanded the legal duty of property owners to protect patrons from criminal acts, they decided that property owners have a legal duty to take reasonable measures up to and including providing armed security personnel to protect patrons from the consequences of criminal acts by unknown third persons. (Note of caution added)
SCOTT V. MATLACK, No. 99SC414, 2002 WL 43222 (Colo. Jan. 14, 2002)
The Colorado Supreme Court decided that evidence of an employer's violations of OSHA rules is admissible in a personal injury lawsuit arising out of a workplace injury.
Governor of the State of Colorado, Bill Ritter, Jr.,
Executive Order # D 003 08 February 4, 2008 Governors Office of Homeland Security
Executive Order # D 023 09 October 7, 2009 Workplace Violence
United States Code
Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, Public Law 108-458 Section 6402 of that Act (The Private Security Officer Employment Authorization Act of 2004)
29 USC § 654. Duties of employers and employees
(a) Each employer – (1) shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees; (2) shall comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this chapter.
(b) Each employee shall comply with occupational safety and health standards and all rules, regulations, and orders issued pursuant to this chapter which are applicable to his own actions and conduct.
Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)
29 CFR 1910.38(a) Emergency action plans
29 CFR 1910.39(a) Fire prevention plans
29 CFR 1910.157(c) Portable fire extinguishers
Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS)
"Preparedness is a shared responsibility and everyone—including businesses, universities, and non-profit organizations—has a role to play… Ensuring our private sector partners have the information and training they need to respond to disasters will strengthen our efforts to build a culture of preparedness nationwide."
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today October 15, 2009 announced new proposed standards for a 9/11 Commission-recommended program for the private sector to improve preparedness for disasters and emergencies.
Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5
Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7
Homeland Security Presidential Directive 8
US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Are You Ready? An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness
GuideOne Insurance Company Safe Church Program
Church Mutual Insurance Company Safety Guides
Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company
Colorado Governor's Office of Homeland Security
“Colorado's communities working together for a safer tomorrow. This vision intends that all of Colorado's citizens, private sector, non-governmental agencies, and public institutions make it their responsibility to work as one team to make our state safer as a result of our efforts in homeland security.
Colorado Springs Office of Emergency Management
Safety and Preparedness: Disasters can happen anywhere at any time. Being prepared and knowing what to do can greatly reduce the fear and anxiety that accompanies a disaster. Depending on the size and complexity of the disaster, local responders may not be able to reach you immediately. Remember that they still need to respond to day-to-day emergencies in addition to emergencies that are a result of the disaster. It may be necessary for you to be self-sufficient for three days or more. Preparedness is everyone's job – not just government agencies, but all sectors of society. Each individual should plan ahead for disasters.
PUBLIC POLICY STATEMENT
It is the public policy at all levels of government for all citizens, businesses, and communities TO CREATE EMERGENCY ACTION PLANS AND TO PREPARE FOR ALL HAZARDS.