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Nooks and Crannies

Patrolling Inside

Security Guard Event Service. Officer And His Group

Based on the Safety Member Certification training module "Safety Team Fundamentals" and the Church Security Guide article "Church Safety Team Basics."[1][2][3]

From the Bible

And the man that stood among the myrtle trees answered and said, “These are they whom the Lord hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth” (Zechariah 1:10). * "walk to and fro" is "patrol" in some other translations.

“See therefore, and take knowledge of all the lurking places where he hideth himself, and come ye again to me with the certainty, and I will go with you: and it shall come to pass, if he be in the land, that I will search him out throughout all the thousands of Judah” (1 Samuel 23:23).

The watchmen that go about the city found me: ... (Song of Solomon 3:3a).

For these Levites, the four chief porters, were in their set office, and were over the chambers and treasuries of the house of God. And they lodged round about the house of God, because the charge was upon them, and the opening thereof every morning pertained to them (1 Chronicles 9:26-27).


Most of us are familiar with police patrolling a neighborhood, security guards walking or driving around a client's property on patrol, and patrolling the grounds of a school or church. Many of us are also familiar with safety and fire inspections in a factory. How many of us have been on a general patrol inside a church or school looking in every nook and cranny for anything which may impact safety and security?

In the News

* Kidnappers may hide in the church, waiting for their chance to act:

Denver, Colorado, March 17 1993 - A man loitered in a church waiting for an available child to take. A 4-year-old boy left his dad to get a drink of water. The man had his chance. He grabbed the boy and left the church. Fifteen hours later, the boy was released on a country road.[4]

About two months later, a man matching the same description and driving the same kind of truck kidnapped and murdered a girl age 5. The DNA evidence positively tying the prime suspect to the case was not usable until 2011, ten years after he died and seventeen after the kidnappings. If he had been discovered in the church and arrested, he would not have killed the girl.[5][6]

* Look for signs of mold, water stains, or other indications that repairs and maintenance are needed:

Monroe, Washington, 2018-19 - Classes at a public school in Monroe had to be relocated while outdated light fixtures were replaced and toxic PCB oil removed from floors and furnishings. The ballasts had been leaking coolants with PCB. It was teachers and students who informed officials of the hazardous conditions.[7]

* Be alert for signs of hidden cameras:

Pensacola, Florida, June 7, 2021 - A youth minister in a church was arrested for mounting hidden cameras in restrooms. Later he was also charged with child pornography. A teen boy first found and reported the camera. The use of hidden cameras for voyeurism has become a problem in churches and other public places.[8][9]

* Bombs can also be planted inside churches:

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, February 19, 2023 - A homemade pipe bomb 18 inches long was found on railroad tracks behind a church. The police bomb squad removed it safely.[10]

* Robbers, fugitives, and mentally-ill persons may hide in churches:

Franklin Park, Illinois, April 2, 2019 - A man from South Dakota drove his pickup truck to Hoffman Estates, left the truck there and went to a church in Franklin Park, where he entered and went down to the basement. Family members tracking him called the police asking for a wellness check.

Officers found the man hiding in a closet. When they tried to escort him out, he resisted until they tazed him. He had two weapons with him, and three more were found in his truck.[11]

Winona, Texas, January 3, 2021 - A men fleeing police Saturday evening went into the woods, then into a church. Sunday morning the pastor came in to get ready for the service. When he went into the restroom, he encountered the fugitive, who was holding the church's money bag. The pastor had a gun, so he drew it and told the man to get out. The fugitive rammed the pastor and took his gun, with which he shot and killed the pastor. He also fired at the pastor's wife, who got away. He then stole the pastor's vehicle and drove away, only to be caught later.[12]


Kris Moloney covers this topic in a Sheepdog Church Security Academy videocast (the audio is on a Church Security Roll Call podcast). He draws on his background in the military, law enforcement, and church safety & security.[13][14]

An Inside Job

A crime is called an "inside job" when committed by a person inside the targeted entity - an employee, company officer, family member, etc. In the business of safety and security, there is another kind of "inside job" - inside inspections and patrolling. The purpose is to go through a facility looking for health and safety issues, whether workers, vendors, and contractors are following prescribed health/safety/security protocols, and signs of criminal activity.

In the past, security personnel in industrial and commercial buildings have found ill or injured persons in need of assistance, safety hazards, depleted fire extinguishers, unlocked gates, evidence of possible theft, bombs, and other concerns. Church Safety Team members on interior patrols have made similar discoveries. Also, a Safety Team member walking around looking at everything can be a deterrent to mischief. Who wants to get caught? Therefore, we know this procedure works.

We need to do this in our churches, and as we do, keep improving our observational skills. This includes updating the list of what we observe. For instance, a recent addition is spotting signs of hidden cameras and other spyware.[9]

The Art and Science of Inside Patrols

There are a few things which will help inside patrols to be more effective (this is not a complete list - there's more in the class materials).

Make it regular.

This means patrolling inside the church and education building during each service and during Sunday School or Sabbath School. Don't make it like clockwork. Know the buildings well enough that you can change the route and still cover everything. This way, bad actors can't predict where you'll be. If they know you may appear at any moment, they'll have second thoughts. If they don't know, you might surprise them. "Gotcha!"

Be recognizable.

Usually, patrolling is not an incognito activity. Wear your Safety Team clothing. What are the benefits of this?

Be equipped.

There are a few items to take on a patrol:

Two-way radio

Flashlight for dark places

Something to write notes (pencil and paper, iPad, etc.)

Camera (could be the one on your smart phone)

Avoid distractions.

You are on patrol for a purpose. You need to stay focused on the task.

Do not disturb church activities.

When classes are in session, check them without drawing attention. This is easier to do when there is a window to the room. The same is true for a church activity.

Go through the entire building.

Every part of the building needs to be patrolled.


Patrols inside a church can assure members of the congregation, find safety hazards, and guard against wrongdoers.

Training Notes

The best training for patrolling the inside of a church building is for a new team member to patrol with an experienced member. As they go through the facility, the new member gets to know the place better than most people in the congregation. Additionally, members of the church will see the person on patrol and know that this is a member of the Safety Team.

Patrolling is covered in the first Safety Team Certification training module (class), "Safety Team Fundamentals." There is a lot more in this class than going on patrol. It is essential that all Church Safety Team members are trained, not only in this topic and class, but also in all the modules. After all, there are several areas of church safety to know:

  1. Safety Team Fundamentals,
  2. Active Shooter Response,
  3. Deescalating Disruptive Persons,
  4. Protecting Children from Abuse,
  5. Basic Use of Force Laws,
  6. Arson and Fire Safety,
  7. Storms and Disasters, and
  8. Mass Trauma Emergencies.

A student who takes all the classes and passes the certification tests will be a Certified Safety Member for two years. Those who have completed the program and are certified can join alumni conference calls.

Three training formats are available. Team Certification (church-hosted classes), Individual Training (self-paced online instruction), and Online Events (live Zoom classes).

Quarter 4 of the 2022-2023 school year is almost half over. The next class is "Deescalating Disruptive Persons" on April 16. Students enrolling now for Online Events can resume classes when the new school year starts in September. If they want to finish sooner, they can continue with Individual Certification.

Color coding:

Related to Article







Training Module


Sep 11

Nov 13

Jan 29

Mar 26

Safety Team Fundamentals


Sep 18

Nov 20

Feb 5

Apr 2

Active Shooter Response


Sep 25

Dec 4

Feb 12

Apr 16

Deescalating Disruptive Persons


Oct 2

Dec 11

Feb 19

Apr 23

Protecting Children from Abuse


Oct 9

Dec 18

Feb 26

Apr 30

Basic Use of Force Laws


Oct 16

Jan 8

Mar 5

May 7

Arson and Fire Safety


Oct 23

Jan 15

Mar 12

May 21

Storms and Disasters


Nov 6

Jan 22

Mar 19

Jun 4

Mass Trauma Emergencies

Up Next

The next article is "2014 Double Springs Community Church Shooting" (Lesson Learned).


  1. Kris Moloney, "Safety Team Fundamentals," Safety Member Certification, Sheepdog Church Security, © 2020 [].
  2. Kris Moloney, Church Security Guide, Sheepdog Church Security, © 2018 [/church-security-guide].
  3. Kris Moloney, "Church Safety Team Basics," Church Security Guide, Sheepdog Church Security, © 2019 [/safety-team-academy].
  4. Compiled by Newsroom Staff, "Notable Colorado child kidnappings," The Denver Post, October 8, 2012, Updated April 30, 2016 [].
  5. Kevin Vaughan, "Kidnapping in 1993 has echos of Alie Berrelez's case," The Denver Post, October 8, 2011 [].
  6. Colleen Curry, "Cold Case of Murdered 5-Year-Old Alie Berrelez Solved: Suspected killer of Alie Berrelez won't be arrested because he died," ABC News, September 13, 2011 [].
  7. Tammy Webber and Martha Irvine (Associated Press), "There's a hidden danger still lurking in old schools, and lawmakers are doing little to fix it," The News & Advance, October 16, 2019 [].
  8. Carolyn Cerda, "Report: Teen found camera hidden under sink in Pensacola church bathroom," WEAR News, June 8, 2021 [].
  9. WGV, "Peeping Tom Tech", Articles, Sheepdog Church Security, May 28, 2021 [/church-security-articles/].
  10. David Propper, "18-inch pipe bomb found behind Catholic church in Philadelphia," New York Post, February 19, 2023 [].
  11. Anon, "Man Charged After Hiding In Franklin Park Church With Multiple Firearms," CBS News Chicago, April 2, 2019 [].
  12. Frank Jefferson, "Pastor killed with his own gun in Texas church shooting," NBC News Channel and KETK, January 4, 2021 [].
  13. Kris Moloney, Sheepdog Church Security Academy, YouTube [].
  14. Kris Moloney, Church Security Roll Call, SoundCloud [].