About 150 people representing a variety of faiths are expected to attend a summit in Dallas on Tuesday afternoon to discuss and exchange information on security in houses of worship.
“Our places of worship are uniquely vulnerable as they struggle to balance sanctity and security,” said U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas. “The free exercise of religion guaranteed by our Constitution is an empty promise without a safe and peaceful environment in which to worship. Although violence in places of worship is sadly not a new problem, recent tragic events across the country have highlighted the challenges of fostering a culture that is both welcoming and safe. This summit will address some of those challenges.”
The summit, which will not be open to the media, is hosted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas, as well as the Dallas Division of the Feral Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.
“Through this summit, it is our hope to further strengthen our relationship with the communities we serve and to share valuable information that could be instrumental in saving lives,” explained Thomas M. Class, Sr., Special Agent in Charge of the Dallas FBI.
Katrina W. Berger, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Dallas, said safety protocols for faith-based leaders will include “basic training tools to escape and survive an active-shooter situation.”
Additionally, the summit will provide those in attendance with information on risk assessment, crisis response plans, deterring threats and sharing information with the members of the community.