• Memphis pastor calling for churches in the U.S. to get armed security

    By: Siobhan Riley

    Updated:

    RALEIGH, Tenn. - A Raleigh pastor is calling on churches across the country to consider getting armed security.    

    Pastor Bill Adkins is making national headlines this week because his church has trained armed security.   

    It’s something he said every congregation across the country needs to think about.

    “It’s a shame when we can’t go into God’s church and pray and not have to turn around and look at our backsides and wonder who’s coming up behind us,” Adkins said.

    Adkins, of Greater Imani Church in Raleigh, faced a lot of criticism when he brought on trained armed security personnel at his church 11 years ago.  Some argued that armed security wasn’t appropriate at a place of worship.

    “These are just times in which we have to make a decision, either we’re going to look out for ourselves and protect our people or we’re going to remain soft targets,” Adkins said.


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    The security team known as watchmen at Greater Imani trains churches all across the country.  You can find as many as 20 armed personnel at the church anytime the doors are open. 

    Adkins said the watchmen are former military or law enforcement officers.

    “There has to be a certain degree of training and how you will protect God’s house, what aisles you will go down, the strategies you’ll use, paths of firing,” he said.

    Adkins said the recent shooting at the Pittsburgh synagogue should serve as a wakeup call for the country and churches in the Mid-South. 

    This is one of many reasons why he brought armed security, especially on Sundays when as many as 2,000 people are in the congregation. 

    “Another horror story, another sad tragic event in America where we seem to not be able to understand why there’s so much hate in the world today,” said Adkins.

    Adkins said the Memphis Police Department and Shelby County Sheriff’s Office also works to council his security.

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