For the last several years, the Vestry of Transfiguration has been working together to address safety and security on our campus. We recognize the variety of risks present in our world, both natural and human-caused, and we want to be well-prepared for as many as possible. We are dedicated to the well-being of everyone at our church, spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
So, in recent years we have:
- improved interior and exterior lighting
- updated all our emergency evacuation systems
- updated and greatly expanded our camera monitoring system
- installed AED (defibrillator) equipment throughout the campus
- restricted building access to the main entrance
- implemented tighter controls on key card access
- hosted an Active Shooter Training by the Dallas Police Department
In addition to these important measures, we are currently partnering with a professional safety consultant to study our campus and procedures and provide recommendations about things like:
- evacuation procedures in the event of severe weather
- building modifications to improve safety and security
- installing a campus radio system for direct communication
- periodic instruction to the parish on how to respond to emergencies
This summer, we also approved one additional important measure focused on safety and security. Beginning at the end of August, an off-duty law enforcement officer will be present on our campus for all three weekend services (Saturday evening and Sunday morning) and for other special events. We plan to recruit this personnel from the team of officers who work for Parish Episcopal School and patrol our campus from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. every school day. This team includes men and women and people of color, and their interactions with both the school and church communities have been quite positive. The Vestry anticipated the financial cost and incorporated it into the operating budget.
Even when serving in an off-duty capacity, officers in uniform are exempted by state law from our posted prohibitions against carrying firearms. They will not simply stand by the main doors, but move around our campus – patrolling the parking lot, checking doors, and assisting as needed. The overwhelming likelihood is that the extent of their help will be with non-emergencies. Still, if someone were to enter the campus with the intent to harm others, this officer would be a highly trained first line of defense before other emergency workers and law enforcement could be dispatched.
We understand that while the presence of an officer will reassure some, it is concerning to others. We will do all we can to strengthen our spirit of hospitality. Many other places of worship around the country have taken this same step, including those with similar values of inclusion and embrace, and we have reached out to some to learn from their experiences. And even as we take this step, we will continue to advocate to those in positions of public trust for common sense actions and legislation to reduce gun violence in our society.
If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to Fr. Casey, Sr. Warden Peggy Kwoka, Jr. Warden Mat Thekkil, or any among us. We are privileged to lead our beloved church, and we are very much at your service.
Peggy Kwoka, Senior Warden
Mat Thekkil, Junior Warden
The Rev. Casey Shobe, Rector
Chip Brownlee, Kristin Cutts, Robbi Dietrich, Lacey Garcia,
Mike Mignardi, Lindsey Murphy, Jeremy Teeple, Alyson Thompson,
Brett Vanderbrook, Peter Young