Deputies offer free safety training to local churches

SPLENDORA, Texas (KTRK) -- What's the first thing you think of when you walk into your place of worship?

"Safety, peace. That's the way it's supposed to be when you walk into church," said Tommy Hopson. "You're supposed to feel at home."

But for many, that feeling has changed after a string of recent church shootings, including the mass shooting in Sutherland Springs.

"It breaks my heart to see something like this take place," said Barry Welch, chief deputy for Montgomery County Precinct Four Constable's Office.

Deputies there are offering free safety training to local churches. They'll help churches come up with a custom security plan, which includes designating who in the congregation will be armed and alert during services.

They also offer active shooter training and exit plans.

"Some people may frown on it because you're going to church, but you're also in a place just like a grocery store. You're in a place where there are a lot of people and there's no reason why you shouldn't protect yourself," Welch explained.

Similar programs are offered in parts of Harris and Fort Bend counties.

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