NOPD, Crimestoppers prepare churches for active shooter scenario

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - In response to the school shooting in Florida, the New Orleans Police Department and Crimestoppers spoke with local churches to prepare leaders for the worst.

Hundreds of faith leaders gathered at Greater St. Stephen Church to learn about what they can do in the case of an active shooter scenario.

"There's so much going on in our world today that's happening with the school shootings, church shootings, we just want to make sure that we are fully prepared to handle any situation," Assistant Pastor Brandon Boutin said.

NOPD and Crimestoppers said they started working together after the Texas church shooting.

"How do you protect yourself, what is your environmental design, and where are the best places if you have to hide, where to hide. And if you can't hide and you can't run, we even talked about fighting back. There are times when that may have to happen," Crimestoppers CEO Darlene Cusanza said.

They welcomed leaders from all places of worship.

"To get these faith based institutions here to train them and equip them on how to diffuse, how to survive, how to deal with the aftermath of an active shooter scenario in a church," NOPD Chief Michael Harrison said.

Harrison said it's important to prepare the community for mass shootings, like any other emergency.

"In my early police days we didn't really hear of it, and as time moved on, it became more prevalent and happened more frequently, and now, it's happening so often, the time is now for us to equip our people, to make sure that they're safe, and that they can do what's necessary until we arrive," Harrison said.

Church leaders hope this knowledge will help them protect their safe spaces.

"We're on a heightened sense of alert in this whole country, but we want to make sure when people come to our house of worship, they can feel at peace," Boutin said.

NOPD and faith leaders said they will continue to work closely together to make sure the community stays safe.

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