OPSO holds church security class for concealed-carry permit holders

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OUACHITA PARISH, La, (KNOE) - The Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office is making sure churches in the parish are safe. They held a church security class on Saturday.

Jerry Sepulvado is soaking in as much information as he can to bring back to his church.

Sepulvado is the security and safety director at Apostolic Restoration Church, formally known as Living Way.

"It's important that we all learn how to shoot well, but also be able to identify threats, things like that," Sepulvado said.

He says his main goal is to keep his church safe. That's why he went to the North Delta Regional Training Academy on Saturday.

"Because of all the things that have taken place throughout Louisiana and throughout other states as far as violent attacks on the churches that we don't want to be surprised by something happening at our church," said Sepulvado.

The Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office held a free church security class for concealed-carry permit holders. They taught church members about legal issues for guns in churches. They also talked about what's needed for a church security system.

"We're covering in-depth of the laws on concealed-carry,” said Lt. Chris Jerkins. “We're talking about active-shooter scenarios and different things like that."

Last May, Governor John Bel Edwards signed a new law that eliminated the requirement of concealed-permit carriers to take a training course to bring their weapons into churches, but officials with OPSO still recommend the class.

"Education is the key to success,” Jerkins said. “So educating anybody at any time gives them further knowledge than what they may have had."

It's a knowledge Sepulvado wants to carry back to his congregation.

"I think that people that are concealed-carry, or concerned that even though they're not on a security team should come to this type of training,” Sepulvado said. “This keeps you updated on what's going on."

Officials say about 70 people showed up for the class. OPSO says they're not sure when the next class will be.