INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are teaming up with other law enforcement agencies to host active shooter training.
The training is focused on places of worship after federal officials say they have become a target.
One Congregation One Precinct (OneCOP) is an organization that creates partnerships with law enforcement agencies and congregations around the country. The organization is bringing its efforts to Indianapolis for active shooter training.
“It is the responsibility of faith leaders not to just be concerned and prayerful but to also be proactive and preventative and I think this sort of training is exactly what that is all about,” said Reverend Markel Hutchins, OneCOP.
After recent mass shootings in Texas, Ohio and California, law enforcement officials say they can’t think of a more crucial time for this training.
“Right here in Marion County you have over a thousand houses of worship. Those are mass gatherings every week,” explained Rev. Hutchins.
There have been multiple places of worship that have found themselves at the center of a threat. One recent threat was made in Carmel.
“It is unfortunate really that we have to have a training for places of worship, a place that many of us look at as sacred and safe,” said IMPD Assistant Chief Randal Taylor.
Marion County Sheriff Kerry Forestal says times are changing and every threat has to be taken seriously.
“You don’t say bomb on an air plane anymore. You don’t say fire in a movie theater. You don’t threaten to blow up a government building,” Forestal said.
According to federal officials, churches are often considered easy targets, but with this training they hope to change that view.
“We can’t do it alone,” said Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry. “We need the public’s assistance if we are to address the public safety issues that we have here in Marion County and Central Indiana.”
The training will focus on what churches can do to prevent a shooting and also what people should do in the event that one actually happens.
“We all believe that the next tragedy couldn’t possibly be in our house of worship,” said Rev. Hutchins. “It couldn’t possibly happen in our community. But in fact, more and more it is.”
The training will take place on Sunday, Aug. 25 from 3-6 p.m. at the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation. It’s free and open to any clergy and security team. Due to limited space they ask that each church only send two to three representatives to the training. There is no registration beforehand.