LAKELAND (FOX 13) - You’re sitting in church, focused, listening to the sermon. All of a sudden, chaos erupts. Bullets are flying, and people are getting hit.
It just happened at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, with more than two dozen fatalities.
You would like to believe that it could never happen in your neighborhood, but who can be sure?
Many churches like Bethel Baptist in Lakeland are trying to head that kind of evil off at the pass. Bethel Baptist has safety teams, unarmed volunteers who look for potential trouble before it happens.
During services, they are stationed in the parking lot and elsewhere being vigilant.
“They are staged strategically in the balcony and other places to just watch what’s going on,” associate pastor Eric Little told FOX 13.
The doors are locked when the service starts, so no one can burst in by surprise. The church has also installed a surveillance camera system.
Like many local law enforcement agencies, the Polk Sheriff’s Office is trying to help churches reduce their risk in case of an active shooter. It offers a free course for clergy and congregants that discusses how to protect yourself if you ever encounter an active shooter.
Polk’s sheriff, a big advocate of the Second Amendment, says people should have a gun and be properly trained to use it. He has no problem with someone legally bringing a gun to church.
“A good man with a gun will stop a bad man with a gun,” Sheriff Grady Judd insisted.