Church leaders to receive ALICE training

WEATHERSFIELD — In light of the deadly church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas that left 25 people dead, police will train Weathersfield church leaders how to react in the event that a shooting ever occurs during a service.

Police Chief Michael Naples said the leaders of about 10 churches in Weathersfield were contacted and they plan to meet in the near future at a central location for ALICE training. ALICE stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate — the five principles ALICE proponents believe empower those who may find themselves in an active shooter scenario.

Naples said many schools use ALICE tactics during “critical incidents,” but the tactics can be used in any public building. Naples said Weathersfield police have increased patrols at churches during times of worship since the Sutherland Springs shooting, but it only makes sense to take it a step further.

“We don’t have any reason to believe there is going to be a problem, but we want to be prepared,” Naples said.

Trustee Chair Steven Gerberry credited the department for reaching out to church leaders.

“It’s unfortunate we have to do this, but it’s the right thing to do,” he said.

Township Administrator David Rouan said it’s a sad reality that police must keep a closer eye on church services or prepare church leaders for such tragedies.

“Unfortunately we have to be concerned about such things these days,” he said.

Church leaders in Weathersfield couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday.