Sheriff’s office offers safety seminars, free gun safety for public

By Donna Thornton/News Editor

The Etowah County Sheriff’s Office is partnering with Gadsden State Community College to offer seminars to help make places of work and places of worship safer.

The sheriff’s office also plans Civilian Firearms Safety courses that will start later this month, to teach the basics of using a gun.

Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin said he wants to get the word out about the safety seminar, featuring retired Denver, Colo. Police Captain and U.S. Marshal Tina Lewis. Lewis is the author of“Worship Without Worry” and other safety and security materials used by thousands of places of worship world-wide.

The sheriff’s office will have three free sessions, geared toward different audiences

The seminar “For Places of Work” will be held 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Feb. 28 at Wallace Hall on the Gadsden State Campus.

The seminar will help business owners, managers, supervisors and teams evaluate “the big picture” of safety and security, and to develop reasonable prevention and response plans.

“For Places of Worship” will be held 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. March 2 at Wallace Hall.

The seminar is designed for church leaders, staff, volunteers, facility managers, security directors and teams, to give them information to help their place of worship become safe and secure in every way, every day.

For Law Enforcement will be held 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. March 1 in the East Broad Auditorium at Gadsden State. Law enforcement officers can receive 6 continuing education units for attending, and gain information they need to make people, places, property, programs and processes at any place of work or worship safer and more secure.

To see the reasons for the seminars, people just have to look at recent headlines. The reasons for the gun safety training the sheriff’s department will offer are in part in response to those headlines and in larger part, in response to citizen requests.
Etowah County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Natalie Barton said the office has had a number of request from the public for gun safety education.

While the sheriff’s department doesn’t have a way to gauge gun sales since the Dec. 14 school shooting in Connecticut and the resulting talk of gun control, Barton said the number of gun permits sought has increased.

“People may have bought a gun, and they may realize that don’t know as much as they should about handling a gun,” Barton said. “We’ve had a number of citizens asking for this. We’ve had husbands asking about gun safety training for their wives or their children.”

Barton said the sessions will begin Feb. 19 and will teach the basics of firearms safety. Classes will be every Tuesday from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Joe Ford Center on the Gadsden State Community College campus.

Like the safety and security seminars, the civilian firearms classes are free. Anyone interested in attending any of the safety sessions should RSVP by Feb. 21, by contacting Barton at 256-549-8135 or emailing Contact Barton also for information about the firearms safety courses.

According to promotional materials about the workplace/worship place seminars, the sessions are designed to:

Guide work places and places of worship in developing and implementing components of a thorough and complete safety and security program; show the value of prevention and response plans and how to make them practical and reasonable; stay balanced, practical and reasonable about plans and procedures; teach techniques for conducting safety and security assessments; develop a safety manual that will be used; and teach awareness, prevention and response about workplace violence or violence that could come into the place of work or worship.

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