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More and More Churches Using Cameras


More and more churches around the country are using security cameras.  Here's a story out today from the Ozarks.

What do a reverend from Illinois and an abortion doctor from Kansas have in common? They were both recently shot and killed in the middle of a church service.


Local church leaders say most of their members would never even dream of harming anyone, much less using a weapon at church.


Still, the recent church murders have local reverends worried enough to step up security.


People come to ridgecrest baptist church for the music, to worship, and to listen. All eyes are on the reverend.


"Anytime you're preaching or sharing an idea, you subject yourself to criticism," Boyd Huddleston of Ridgecrest Baptist Church says.


That's why the church security team exists.


"Many of them are law enforcement," Nathan Burns of Ridgecrest Baptist Church says. "Many active, some retired."


The team is charged with keeping an eye on the whole operation.


"It starts when they get out of the car," Huddleston says.


The church has 11 entrances, and 4,000 people have to walk through these doors safely each Sunday.

The security team sweeps the hallways as others pray.


"We look to see if someone is carrying something unusual such as a violin case," Huddleston says. "If someone is going up and down the halls looking into the offices."

Walkie-talkies keep everyone informed.


"Those are to communicate between the security people and the head people of the church," Huddleston says.


But news of murders at church is prompting ridgecrest to beef up security.


"It just blows my mind," Burns says. "We're not safe anymore and church is not the sacred isolated place it might have been decades ago."


Especially at churches with memberships larger than a lot of small towns.


"Activities going on every day and night of the week with such a large membership," Burns says.


These twin cameras are about to get some company.


"We'll begin to camera each of our entrances and our parking lot and run those to our central console at our receptionist's desk," Burns says.


Preparing for the worst, as the people in these pews pray for the best.


"We try not to be paranoid but we try to be vigilant," Burns says.


Like all churches, Ridgecrest has an open-door policy. All are welcome, including -- one night a week -- former inmates.

The goal is to work with them to improve their lives. But church leaders say you never know what will happen, and that's another reason for the security increase.

The types of cameras typically used in churches are security cameras and ptz cameras.


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