Worship in safety

By Grace Moore

Grace Moore photo
Chief of Police Doug Lundborg.

Introducing himself to a quickly filling room, Moorcroft Chief of Police Doug Red Lundborg conducted his first presentation to which spiritual leaders and any other churchgoers who are concerned about safety in their place of worship were invited Thursday evening in the Moorcroft Council Chambers.

Lundborg explained his reason for gathering the information and working on this endeavor for the last month.

“Heaven forbid and God willing we’ll never have something like that here in our local community, but I would be remiss if I had these feelings that needed to be conveyed to others to keep them a little safer and didn’t do anything,” he said.

Originally, Lundborg got the idea from the Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police. He then adjusted the information on state statute and local law for Wyoming and Crook County and acquired church security guidelines (policies and procedures) from one of the Gillette churches, saying that the information is “pretty good”.

The principle of the plan is the same as is taught in the ALICE training program with focus on the unique situation found in churches. Since 1999, said Lundborg, there have been more than 1800 incidents of violence against Christian places of worship with over 600 fatalities reported and the numbers are escalating.

“We have some people out there who have no boundaries, morals or ethics and they will kill you or me, they don’t care,” he said.

With the assistance of fellow law enforcement agent, Crook County Sheriff’s Deputy and ALICE instructor Ed Robinson, Lundborg shared tips on security measures before, during and after an attack.

Have a security plan in place and communication with that security network and other parishioners within the congregation is imperative, knowing each other and what is going on around you, warned the chief. “Awareness is a key issue.”

Robinson gave the audience a couple of important practical tips to remember if they are caught in the situation, do you run, hide or fight and, if necessary, how you can safely dial 911 without talking or break the concentration of a shooter before he pulls the trigger.

The most difficult part of the plan, though, may be the need to “wrap your head around it”, you cannot be prepared when or if the practical application becomes necessary, Lundborg explained.

After several pertinent questions regarding their particular concerns, the audience thanked Lundborg for his efforts and the guidelines he provided and the presentation ended. Lundborg later said that he considers the class of 12 a success and plans to contact other religious leaders in the county to offer the presentation.

As the meeting reached its close, Robinson shared these words: “The days of people depending on somebody like me to save your life if somebody comes into your church with a gun are done; it isn’t going to happen; it’s up to you.”