Lebanon police re-connecting with religious community, addressing security

LEBANON, Ind. - An overdue chat between police and church leaders took place Friday at the Lebanon Police Department. Chief Tyson Warmoth wanted to bring the parties together to talk about everyone's role in the community to protect people, with a focus on security.

The meeting included roughly a dozen or more pastors and leaders from area churches along with Warmoth and other members of his staff.

Warmoth, who has worked with Lebanon police for 23 years, said some of the resources he once knew each church offered had changed.

“They were always there to house an abused spouse, put up a stranded motorist, or even loan a motorist a few dollars to get down the road," he said. "We’ve always known they were a resource we could fall back on and somewhere over the last few years, we’ve lost contact with our churches. A part of this meeting was getting back together with the churches.”

Police were on hand to talk answer questions that might have come from the religious community. The department also wanted to help churches possibly better handle security.

"We don’t want to be the next story on the national news," said the chief. "Every pastor has a responsibility to protect their congregation in how they see fit. We’re just giving them options."

Warmoth said each church has a member in the congregation who is carrying a concealed weapon. He wants them to help protect everyone if anything ever happens.

“If we have people there who are legally carrying, why not utilize them," said Warmoth. "I think I would feel safer. If they are a good, responsible citizen, and they have a love for their church, why wouldn’t they want to protect them.”

The discussion over safety won't stop Friday. The department has also invited churches in town to send their members with police to the firing range later this year.

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