120 churches sign up for security summit after Sutherland Springs shooting

FILE: Williamson County Sheriff's Office patrol vehicle. (KXAN Photo)
FILE: Williamson County Sheriff's Office patrol vehicle. (KXAN Photo)

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — In response to the worst mass shooting in Texas’ history at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs that killed 26 people, law enforcement in Williamson County has put out the call for congregations concerned about security.

The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office — along with nearly a dozen area police departments — is hosting a security summit on Sunday to “address the needs of places of worship in and around the Williamson County area.”

The security summit will take place Nov. 19 from 3-5 p.m. at the Celebration Church in Georgetown, located at 601 Westinghouse Rd. Attendees will receive free active shooter education.

“Churches are realizing that what they thought was a sacred place is maybe not sacred in the minds of a lot of people, where they thought they were safe, they may not be safe anymore, so they want to be sure to be protected,” explained Jim Kuykendall, an executive pastor at the Celebration Church. “We feel a responsibility for everyone that comes through our doors and we want to be sure that they can feel safe when they come to worship, and I think every church wants to have that same sense for their people that come to worship.”

At last check Tuesday, more than 550 people have registered for the summit, representing more than 120 churches, according to Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody.

According to the Caldwell County Office of Emergency Management, their office is also hosting training for houses of worship. Training includes all-hazard planning and active shooter training.

This training is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Thursday at the Caldwell County Justice Center.

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