DES ARC, Ark. – An Arkansas church is learning how to deal with the unimaginable, an active shoot situation. Hickory Plains Missionary Baptist Church is Des Arc is now stepping up its security plans and learning how to defend themselves.
Active shooter training is becoming a lot more common than we think. The instructors said the amount of classes and class sizes continue to increase. Their first few sessions were 30-35 people but now their average is in the hundreds.
“For years we thought that church was the safest place on planet earth,” church intruder instructor, Sonny Byerley said.
In a sacred environment that has been known to give a since of security.
“And what we’ve soon realized is that criminals are out there, and they know that were the quote unquote victims of society,” Byerley said.
It’s changed for some after seeing so many mass shootings, some in churches. Now members at Hickory Plaines Baptist is gearing up to be prepared for any emergency.
“The day and time that we live in, it’s just come to the point that we got to think about protecting ourselves,” Hickory Plaines Baptist Church Pastor Dirick Hulsey said.
However, a recent church shooting hits close to home.
“I expected maybe 30 people to show up,” Hulsey said. “But then the shooting in Texas happened and so I believe the interest picked up.”
Byerley said this prompts more people to pay attention to the violence happening around the world.
“We’re sitting in a fixed platform with our back to the door and they realize because of pre-planning and commitment that they can come in and they can cause a lot of devastation,” Byerley said.
More than 80 people showed up to the church Saturday for this training.
“I believe it does help those who are coming to feel safer, to know that we are prepared or trying to be prepared,” Hulsey said.
A special instructor came in and made a personalized church security plan for everyone.
They showed them how to protect themselves against an active shooter and learn about the different ways to defend yourself. They taught a special three step plan: lock out, get out or take out the shooter.
The class also talked about body language and how to recognize suspicious behavior and how to de-escalate a situation.
“We’re living in the last days, where the Bible tells that perilous times come and I believe we’re there and so we’ve got to be proactive in it,” Hulsey said.
The class also went over things to do it there was a threat outside of the church.
Instructors want to remind people if you see something, say something. For details on the training program, click here.