Church security relied on training during tense situation - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Church security relied on training during tense situation

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POST FALLS, Idaho -

A church service at Real Life Ministries quickly turned into a tense situation when an Idaho veteran shot and killed himself Sunday.

“Church was still in progress when the incident happened,” said Director of Security, Jesse Hill. “Staff immediately followed training.”

The three-hour negotiation between Post Falls Police and 59-year-old Dale L. Belieu had Hill and the rest of the security team at RLM on high alert.

Hill says the security team and other church leaders communicated the plan to move all the children safely to the sanctuary.

“Then we let parents know that their children where safe and we had security people here who are manning the doors and law enforcement is here surrounding the area,” said Hill. “Churches are more proactive now in the realm of security.”

“They handled things in such a safe and calming way that I had been preaching for 30 minutes and no one out here in the campus had any idea what was going on,” said Senior Pastor, Jim Putman. “People have said ‘Jim you were so calm.’ Well it's pretty easy to be calm when everybody has everything taken care of, they've all been trained so well.”

Hill, who is a former Kootenai County Sheriff’s deputy, says the security team trains for these types of situations.

“Now a lot of churches train "run, hide fight" to try to get away from the situation,” said Hill. “Evacuate if you can, not just lock down.”

More than 1,500 people waited inside the main sanctuary while law enforcement handled the situation.

Hill says other churches should research to they can also be prepared in these situations. 

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