LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - The school shooting last year in Newtown, Connecticut had some local church leaders wondering: 'How would we handle a similar situation if it was to happen at our church?'
More than 50 church leaders and law enforcement officers in the Lafayette area are learning how to respond to a situation involving an intruder.
"Just last week, there was a pastor who was shot and killed in Louisiana," said John Chapman, a board member for the First Assembly of God Church in Delphi and Delphi Police Chief.
"Every training we do, just increases our level of awareness," said Marjo Doyle with Indiana Moms Against Gun Control.
The Lafayette Police Department hosted an Intruder Awareness Response seminar for church personnel on Friday. Lt. Jim Taul said there was a need for the training after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School last December.
"It created a lot of phone calls from various church leaders in the community, wanting advice," said Taul.
Taul said the department decided to bring Strategos International, the company that puts on the seminars and specializes in church safety training, to the Lafayette area. The seminar focuses on recognizing the need for security, recognizing armed individuals and learning how to put training or a lockdown into effect.
"We feel it's necessary in case anything would ever happen. But as the instructor said, he hopes, and it's my hope, that 25 years from now, that the people here will say it's a waste of time because nothing happened," said Taul.
Chapman said it's crucial for church leaders to be prepared for an intruder situation because the doors are always open for people to come worship.
"If you're off of a main street or a main highway, sometimes people just walk in churches all the time, kind of unannounced. We need to learn what we can do to better protect ourselves," said Chapman.
Lt. Taul was impressed with the the numbers. He said the department was hoping for 25 to 30 attendees, so they are more than satisfied with the turnout.
It's been nearly a month since a tornado damaged Southwestern Middle School and Mintonye Elementary School, giving faculty the task of helping students transition to their new surroundings.
There were several two hour delays for area schools Thursday morning. As of Thursday evening, there are none for Friday morning.
Donations are being accepted to help around 300 seniors receive a holiday gift.