Church And Mr. Tacticool

BY Herschel Smith
7 years, 5 months ago

I was working in South Carolina this week and staying with my son and his family in upstate S.C.  I attended worship this Sunday at his church (I won’t mention the name of the church), and there he was.  Mr. Tacticool (if I am not mistaken, Mauldin Police Department).

He was awesome, with fatigues, Kevlar vest, patches and insignia, thigh holster, and on and on the equipment went.  Cool, he was.  But that’s all he accomplished today.  Being cool.

If the church was addressing a specific threat, plainclothes officers carrying concealed would have been more effective at catching a perpetrator, which is ultimately the goal of any long term safety and security program.

A skilled shooter, bent on harming the most people and practiced at reloads, could have killed a hundred people before Mr. Tacticool ever made his way into the building (Mr. Tacticool stood on the sidewalk outside the church looking cool, while 2000 people worshiped inside).

The best approach to safety and security for the congregants would have been for as many of them to carry concealed as possible.  The Church authorities should endeavor to make that happen.  As for the police, they were just irrelevant today.  But Mr. Tacticool looked cool.

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  1. On May 20, 2013 at 4:46 am, Anon said:

    I think, if you researched it, you’d find that quite a few Upstate churches have what might be termed “safety teams” composed of armed and First Aid-trained church members who rotate the responsibility. As you noted, there are a fair number of large churches in the Upstate, and it is well understood that they, and their members’ vehicles, pose a potentially attractive target. I can think of one church at which during Sunday services as many as 20 armed people are in the building and parking lot, and a houndstooth sport coat is as “tacticool” as they get. I can point you to several churches in Florida which do the same thing, so I’d bet it’s more widespread than you might think.

    I suspect the Tommy Tactical you observed was an LEO earning off duty money because his presence might be some discouragement to the nefarious. I’d be quite surprised if his was the only projectile expeller carried on the property that day.

  2. On May 20, 2013 at 10:28 am, Herschel Smith said:

    Ha! If I researched it. Right.

    I know all about large churches – I attend one even larger in Charlotte. Security is best accomplished by low profile work. As for whether there are armed civilians in worship, that’s a case by case issue. S.C. is like N.C. in that the church can prohibit it, but allow it, depending upon the church authorities.

    As far as cars being “attractive targets” and thinking that a tacticool dude is going to dissuade a person from attacking that “attractive target,” I can only say that you’re watching too many James Bond flicks.

    Next time you comment, use a legitimate e-mail or get spammed.

  3. On May 20, 2013 at 11:49 am, RAN58 said:

    Totally agree with you Herschel. My last place of employment was a mega church on the West coast. We utilized off duty deputy sheriff’s in regular brown uniform for traffic flow into and out of the parking lot and during services they would come in for free coffee and donuts ;^). But within the facilities we had a plain clothes security team roaming about in pairs with com sets. They doubled as hospitality personnel that assisted people with directions. Within the worship center we had ushers/security in regular attire with CWP who stood at the back by each entrance. Everything was very low key. At least 1/3rd of the staff had CWP’s and practiced regularly for sport and were hunters.

  4. On May 20, 2013 at 12:01 pm, Herschel Smith said:


    And that’s what I’m accustomed to seeing too, even when we had off duty LEOs on security staff (some were Captain’s of their dept.). It’s the best way to handle it.

  5. On May 20, 2013 at 4:37 pm, Joseph P. Martino said:

    Here in Ohio it’s illegal to carry in a church without the permission of the pastor. Unfortunately, the bishop of our diocese has ruled that no pastor may give anyone permission to be armed in church. There may be some parishioners who carry and do it discreetly, but if so they’re deeply under cover. I’m not aware of them.

  6. On May 23, 2013 at 9:37 am, Captain Tripp said:

    Mr. Smith, the officer you are referring to is a K-9 officer and that is his duty uniform. He has a different uniform than the normal blue worn by our patrol officers because dog hair is so visible on the blues. In regard as to how we deploy our officers at this church, I can assure you that they are deployed in a well thought out manner. I will not elaborate more other than there is a lot more than meets the eye. If you would like to address your security concerns at this church, feel free to contact me at the Mauldin Police Department.

    PS: Obviously, you didn’t get much from the church sermon concerning being judgmental or the fruits of the spirit. Maybe you should get into the WORD more.

  7. On May 23, 2013 at 9:58 am, Herschel Smith said:

    It would have been much more effective if your officer had worn plain clothes and walked the inside of the facility. His duty uniform is irrelevant to me, and I would greatly prefer that he (and you) consider yourselves to be peace officers, wearing uniforms and ties (except when wearing plain clothes) rather than tacticool uniforms and equipment.

    The sermon had absolutely nothing to do with being judgmental or the fruits (sic) of the spirit.

  8. On May 23, 2013 at 10:37 am, Captain Tripp said:

    Mr. Smith, I can’t get into how we deploy our officers. However, this K-9 officer is primarily there for traffic control before and after church and needs to be in uniform. When not directing traffic, the church prefers uniform officers remain outside as a visible deterrent. You can rest assured there are additional security measures taken by the church and MPD inside the church.

    As I said before, if you would like to discuss the matter further, feel free to contact me. I am always open to constructive suggestions by someone qualified to conduct security and threat assessments. Of course in order to be able conduct an adequate assessment, one has to have all the information, which of course you don’t have.

  9. On May 23, 2013 at 10:42 am, Herschel Smith said:

    Captain Tripp,

    Thanks for the comment. I especially appreciate the note about “someone qualified to conduct security and threat assessments … which of course you don’t have.”

    More of “the only ones” meme, which David Codrea has so aptly discussed.

  10. On May 23, 2013 at 12:58 pm, Josh said:

    Captain Roger Tripp: expert extraordinaire on both threat assessments and the spiritual condition of a human’s heart alike.

    You could take the title of Spiritual Threat Assessor and round out your expertise nicely.

    Let’s be serious though; the Mauldin Police Department’s website has as its largest, most prominent masthead image a closeup of a handgun, cartridges and handcuffs with the words “To Protect and Serve” underneath. A clear and wonderful juxtaposition. And tacticool to boot. The next image in rotation features those cool new cruisers you guys buy with our tax money, even though that image is clearly a stock photograph and in no way related to the department. I especially like the guards you slap on the front of your vehicles – another tool of destruction. Everything about you people is dangerous, from your guns to your OC spray, knives, sticks, dogs, vehicles and lack of tact and training. It’s all meant to kill, maim or otherwise destroy. You’re a heavily armed gang with near legal immunity. Dangerous indeed.

    Match the aforementioned with your obvious “us or them” attitude: You’ve stated you’re only open to suggestions from individuals “qualified to conduct threat assessments”, as if Peace Officers should not be bothered with suggestions from civilians. What do you get? The same boring, old, played-out variant of grown boys playing with (deadly) taxpayer funded toys in our neighborhoods, on our streets and in our churches.

    Here’s some unsolicited advice from someone who has absolutely no experience conducting “threat assessments”, but could likely learn how in all of one or two weeks: Better patrols.

    All I ever see the Mauldin Police doing is setting up drunk driving checkpoints in asinine locations, sitting stationary in their cruisers in the exact same locations every night and driving recklessly through 4-way stops (I was almost killed by three of your officers converging on one at breathtaking speeds, without running lights or sirens). When you guys do actually patrol neighborhoods you crawl with your alley lights on only while passing a fellow officer’s home. The rest of the neighborhood can screw off, I suppose? Oh, and gas stations. The same ones. Every night. Just hanging out, as if the crime will come to you…

    The only thing I can give the Mauldin Police Department credit for is not serving warrants with a SWAT team. At least you don’t do that…yet.

    Finally, try not to give unqualified suggestions (see what I did there?) on spiritual matters to someone who’s been through seminary. You won’t look so stupid that way.

  11. On May 28, 2013 at 1:15 pm, GunRights4US said:

    For the eight years that I ran a cash collection room in an NFL stadium, I had my own army of off-duty cops. I know more about cops that the average Joe Schmoe. And I know that most of them couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with a two-by-four. If I need protection, defense, or just plain old justice – I will NEVER turn to a cop to provide it! There’s a day of reckoning coming for all those who serve tyranny, and as we used to say in the Marines: Payback’s a Bitch!

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This article is filed under the category(s) Police and was published May 19th, 2013 by Herschel Smith.

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