SAUK RAPIDS -- Crime and violence are something that affects our communities on a regular basis.

We often hear about violence at movie theatres, schools and malls. But places of worship are also a common place for crime.

In an effort to limit violence, the Stearns County Chiefs of Police Association held a workshop today (Thursday) at Discovery Church in Sauk Rapids, providing safety tips for places of worship.

Waite Park Police Chief David Bentrud says crimes at churches are more common then people think.

"In my career I've responded to burglaries, thefts and unwanted persons at churches," says Chief Bentrud.

Local officers and church workers in Central Minnesota were in attendance today to hear from guest speaker Tina Lewis Rowe.

"She has a lot of experience, not only in law enforcement but also safety and security training," says Chief Bentrud.

Rowe is a retired Captain with the Denver police department and U.S. Marshall's Office.

Bentrud says he hopes church workers can take back the tools they learn today and use them in their own communities.


Guest Speaker Tina Lewis Rowe talks about safety plans at Places of Worship workshop. (PHOTO: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON News)