Fayetteville police meet faith leaders for security seminar

FAYETTEVILLE (WTVD) -- Fayetteville police met with the city's faith leaders to discuss safety and security Tuesday.

The seminar took place at Simon Temple AME Zion Church on Yadkin Road. The seminar was a part of weekly activities FPD is hosting for Safe Communities Week.

During the session, Chief Harold Medlock fielded questions about evacuation and safety plans in places of worship, how to handle a person who threatens the congregation's safety, and how to contact police when someone suspicious enters the church.

"There's probably not a day or certainly a week that goes by that one of our places of worship in our city doesn't experience some kind of suspicious behavior or activity, (and) call us," said Medlock. "And we encourage them to make, for their particular facility or congregation, we encourage them to develop a comprehensive safety plan."

One pastor told Medlock people like to lay their burdens on the altar when they give their life to Christ. Sometimes those burdens include weapons, the pastor said. He wanted to know how police would want those weapons handled if they're left at the church.

"You can call us," said Medlock. "We'll come get it."

Parishioners were also reminded that they can text 911 from AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile phones. It can be a discreet way to notify authorities of something suspicious, and have an officer respond to the church.

"One of our officers can come sit in the church with you," Medlock said. "It doesn't hurt you, and it doesn't hurt them."

Medlock also addressed questions about helping the homeless, particularly for downtown Fayetteville churches. Medlock discouraged handing out money.
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