LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - Some churches in the Laurel area are turning to the Jones County Sheriff's Department to help them improve security.
Members of several churches met with deputies during a Church Security Awareness Workshop Tuesday at the Jones County Sheriff's Department Training Center.
A number of safety and security issues were discussed in detail, from tornado evacuation to active shooter scenarios.
Sheriff's department officials said this kind of outreach is designed to save lives.
Officials with the Jasper County Sheriff's Department also attended.
They plan on offering similar workshops in that county.
"In today's time, you never think about needing a church security workshop from law enforcement, but we're in a time where we really need that," said Maj. Jamie Tedford with the Jones County Sheriff's Department. "(Workshop attendance) is still growing and people are still coming and why, because public safety is a concern."
"People don't think of a church as a place where you need to be scared or you need to worry, it was always a safe haven," said Randy Johnson, sheriff of Jasper County. "Now, it's getting where (church) is a group of unarmed citizens that are open for attack and unfortunately, the people who carry out attacks don't care if you're in a church, in a mall or where you are. To them, it makes no difference at all."
The seminars are held periodically by the Jones County Sheriff's Department.