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Active shooter class to take place Saturday

The Jasper County Sheriff’s Office wants to prepare local churches for any emergency situation that might arise while conducting services.

The Sheriff’s Office will offer active shooter preparedness training for churches Saturday, Dec. 9 from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. at Ridgeland Baptist Church, located on 1448 Grays Hwy.

“This training will teach church security members and other members of the church how to react in emergency situations,” Jasper County Sheriff Chris Malphrus said. “This training will be in a classroom setting and will allow churches from around the county and some from outside of the county an opportunity to learn from one another, learning the different aspects to responding and dealing with an active shooter.”

The training comes a month after the Nov. 5 mass shootings at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, when a gunman killed 26 people and wounded 20 others. It was the deadliest mass shooting by an individual in Texas.

“We had been planning the training before this happened, but we decided to move it up on the calendar after the shootings in Texas,” Malphrus said.

Malphrus said the response so far from churches interested in the class has been great, with around 40 churches from in and outside the county signed up for the training.

“The training will not only be to learn how to handle an active shooter situation, it will also be for learning how to handle any disorderly person in the church or any emergency situation that might occur in the church,” he said.

While there have been no reported incidents of churches with emergency situations requiring law enforcement since Malphrus took office, he said it’s important to keep church members aware and trained.

“I want the church security teams and all of those who would need to be trained within the churches to take away the knowledge and desire to go back and teach others about safety and start their own programs in their churches,” Malphrus said.

Training is open to church leaders and security team members.

Identification and church affiliation will be checked at the door to ensure safety and to protect sensitive information.

Anyone interested in attending the class is asked to call 843-726-7777.

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