Security Team members need to be aware that there is a vast array of criminal (local, state, federal) and civil case laws that govern the use of force by private citizens. Inappropriate use of force can leave the team member and the church open to damaging liability and criminal prosecution. For these reasons, the basic policy regarding use of force by team members against other people is as follows:
Force will not be used against another person, unless all other avenues of negotiation and verbal persuasion have been used, and/or the threat of physical or bodily harm to another is so imminent that failure to intervene will result in injury or loss of life, and there is no time to wait for the police to arrive. If force is used, only the minimum amount of force necessary should be used to control the situation. Force should not be used to protect property unless the actions of the offender are so great that property damage could reasonably turn into personal injury to the offender or others, and again there is no time to wait for the police. Additionally – Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) licensees that are not sworn law enforcement officers must use their firearms in ways that are consistent with all local, state, and federal laws (see 430 ILCS 66, Firearm Concealed Carry Act ) and assume all legal responsibilities associated with the use of a firearm.
Please understand that no team member is expected to use force to control a person or situation. Failure to use force or choosing to desist will not automatically result in any sort of punishment, removal from the team or church. All team members are unique in their mindset and physical stature and are not required to be “warriors” simply because they are on the security team. The ability to use discretion and verbal persuasion are tools that can steer a situation towards success long before force is needed. The times when force may actually become an option are rare at best. All team members, however, are expected to act in some form when a situation escalates. This could be alerting police or other emergency personnel, locking doors, evacuating and/or stopping people. There is no fine line that can be drawn to explain when a situation moves into a use of force situation. All situations are unique and require wisdom in managing. We should all be in prayer that the Lord will spare the church from these situations and will fill us with guidance from the Holy Spirit when such situations arise.