Church security training returning to Westmoreland County
Westmoreland County native and certified firearms instructor Rodney Smith is returning to the area this month to offer more security training to interested churches.
Smith, 59, of Flowery Branch, Ga., gave similar training to nearly 100 people at three Westmoreland County locations in late November and early December.
“I was very happy with the turnout. They were driving in from Pittsburgh, Greensburg, Derry, all over,” he said.
Enough interest was generated, he said, to warrant another three-hour classroom session and to plan for a 16-hour course in firearms training this summer.
Smith's course on church security, situational awareness and less-than-lethal defense will be offered from 6-9 p.m. Feb. 25 at Harrold Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, at the corner of Baltzer Meyer Pike and Route 136 in Hempfield.
The course is open to the public for a donation. No registration is required.
Smith, a native of Bolivar, founded the Georgia Firearms and Security Training Academy in July 2015, a month after the deadly church shooting in Charleston, S.C. Since then, he has taught security courses in more than 50 churches, most of them in Georgia.
Recent church shootings in Tennessee and Texas make such training all the more necessary, he said.
Smith, a 24-year Navy veteran who worked in law enforcement for 13 years, taught the shorter course at churches in Bolivar and New Florence and a fire hall in Fairfield Township last year.
The longer course is for pastors and lay leaders who have a state firearms permit.
Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-1280, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @shuba_trib.