GLADSTONE — Due to safety concerns in places of worship throughout the nation, a large seminar was held earlier today to protect people at their place of worship locally.

The Michigan State Police – Gladstone Post held the one of the first meetings in Michigan and the first in the U.P. about keeping people safe at their place of worship. The inaugural meeting talked about protecting church assets, embezzlements, and most of all security in places of worship.

“The concerns for security in our places of worship is usually something that we don’t think too much about until something happens, then we wish we had thought about it,” said Chaplain Stephen Cowen, “we’re trying to be proactive.”

The seminar presented ways on how the worship buildings can be more secure, and some common characteristics of a person who may be a potential threat to security. Some of those characteristics include a person who has recently been through a great deal of stress from divorce, death, financial struggles and more.

“We see these types of things happening like church shootings, wherever it may be.” said Community Service Trooper for the Michigan State Police – Gladstone Post Dale Hongisto.

“This effects every part of the country, every state of the union,” said Michigan State Police – Gladstone Post D/Sgt. Jeremy Hauswirth, “this effects big churches, small churches, schools and could happen anywhere.”

“I don’t think anyone is immune from this,” said Michigan State Police – Gladstone Post F/Lt. Gregory Cunningham, “whether it’s a big city, or whether it’s a rural area, or in our communities here in the Upper Peninsula.”

One of the most critical factors needed to contain a dangerous situation is to have immediate and urgent contact with the police.
This meeting was not open to the public, but for all faith–based organizations in Delta and Menominee counties and the people that represent them.

“It’s a collaborative effort of all faiths, all denominations. It’s not about beliefs, it’s not about doctrines, but about our community and how we can protect them.”

Over one hundred people attended the seminar and more public information meetings are expected to be held soon. We’ll keep those who are interested updated as time goes on.