KRUGERVILLE, Texas (KETK) – In a small town just outside of Dallas lies a security firm with the motive of rearing churchgoers to fight, protect, and defend their flock.
The father-son duo, Charles and Will Chadwick spearhead Gatekeepers Security Sevices, a small subset of the National Organization of Church Security and Safety management. “The main focus of our whole ministry is to stop the bad guy,” said Charles. The two, on a mission of engraving a mindset of unyielding courage and bravery.
“We are the eyes that are looking out, we are the ones in the gate that are going to tell the enemy no,” said Chuck’s son Will, the senior instructor for this intense training program. Their team prepares churchgoers with a calling to serve for the worst-case scenario: a scenario a church in East Texas came across just two months ago. “The church can be viewed as a soft target and we simply pardon that target,” said Will.
Starrville Methodist Church in Winona lost 62-year-old Pastor Mark McWilliams when an intruder, 21-year-old Mytrez Woolen shot and killed him after hiding in the bathroom on January 3rd. Despite having his own firearm, McWilliams was overpowered and shot with his own weapon.
“It is horrifying, we have the tendency to think that we’re in a secure area, yet we are finding ourselves being threatened at all times, not knowing where or when or how.”Carey Ponder, Safety Team Member, Lanes Chapel United Methodist Church
For Will Chadwick, his duty is to prepare congregation members for those threats; seen or unseen. “Unfortunately, some people come with the intent to harm, so we have to make sure that the people who are there to get healed aren’t getting hurt,” said Will.
Here’s how they do it:
Their training includes intense physical and mental training, ranging from defensive tactics such as how to arrest someone and get them away from others, playing out life-threatening scenarios through a simulator, extensive firearm training, and even psychological testing.
Wednesday on KETK News at 10, we take you inside a unique Texas school devoted to teaching faith leaders how to protect their flock. Watch our special report, ‘Worship Safely.’