Poplarville Police Officer attends church safety seminar
During the course of a week, people commute to work, school, grocery stores, homes of friends and family and finally end their week with Sunday services at church.
Poplarville police officer, Joe Bowman posed this question, “In a week, where would people think is the safest place for them to be?”
His answer was the church.
According to Bowman, the number of criminal incidents occurring on church grounds has been on the rise these past few years.
For the past eight years, Bowman has served on Poplarville’s police force.
He also serves as church administrator and associate pastor at Picayune’s Christian Assembly of God. He has served in the ministry for more than 20 years.
In October, Bowman attended a church safety seminar in Louisville, Miss.
Minister and former Fort Worth, Texas police officer, Jimmy Meeks and head of the safety team for New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Carl Chin, taught the seminar.
“Both of these officers were involved in criminal incidents that occurred on church property,” Bowman said. “These events prompted the men to gather information regarding risk assessment and safety management.”
Bowman said according to Meeks, there are three types of people. The first group is the sheep, church attendees. The second are the wolves, and they seek to harm the sheep. The last types are the sheep dogs and they protect the sheep.
The seminar focused on surveying the methods used to conduct services, Bowman said, including having people monitor the parking lot and practicing safe nursery and children’s church procedures.
As a result of his training, Bowman would like to encourage church leaders in Pearl River County to reach out to him and schedule a meeting.
“I want people to know they’re in a safe environment,” Bowman said. “We, as church leaders, want to make every effort to ensure the safety and well-being of our congregation. The church has always been viewed as a sacred and holy place, but to a criminal, it’s a crime of opportunity. In short, the criminal mentality has been brought to churches.”
Any church leader in Pearl River County interested in hearing a presentation from Bowman may contact him at 601-798-2766.