WARSAW — With gunfire ringing out in U.S. churches and making national headlines, local parishioners say they are not going to be caught sitting in their pews unprepared. Recently, officials from the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department provided training to church members from throughout the county and a local firearms expert said a coalition of prepared church-goers is growing and looking for additional support.
“We teach basic and advanced firearms training designed to help churches defend against an armed intruder,” said Donald Wiesehan, a member of Warsaw Community Church and that church’s safety team trainer. “Some of the things we teach include recognizing a church’s blind spots and most probable entry points.”
According to Wiesehan, the group calls itself Church Safety Solutions. He said the need for such training has been underscored by active shooter incidents in U.S. churches, the most prominent of which was the massacre that occurred in November 2017 in Texas that claimed 26 lives.
“I would never have thought, even five years ago, that we would ever have a need for something like this in our churches,” Wiesehan said.
Criminologist Dallas Drake reported last year that 147 shootings occurred in U.S. churches between 2006 and 2016. The Texas church shooting in November raised awareness to an all-time high.
Currently, Wiesehan, owner of Wiesehan Enterprises, LLC said the program has two participating churches, WCC and Open Bible Baptist Church in Warsaw. Other churches interested in participating in the program can call Wiesehan at (574) 551-5883.