The Sherman Police Department announced Wednesday that it will host a free training on Dec. 2 as a way to help church officials prepare and respond to a potential active shooter situation. The announcement comes on the heels of the Nov. 5 mass shooting at the First Baptists Church of Sutherland Springs, in which a gunman killed 26 people as they took part in a Sunday service.

“The police department wanted to host this as a form of community outreach and to give church staff and members a sense of safety,” SPD Sgt. D.M. Hampton said. “They’ll discuss different scenarios and what their response should be should something like that happen here. We want people to be prepared before it happens as opposed to just reacting after it happens.”

The class will be held from 8-10 a.m. at Sherman Bible Church and is open to all all pastors, elders, deacons and church staff in Grayson County.

“It will go into things to watch out for, like suspicious activity, what they need to do as far as sit down as a staff and develop a plan for the specific building they’re in, list the entrances and exits they have,” Hampton said. “And then they’ll probably talk about the formation of some kind of security team that might serve as the first line of defense.”

Following the active shooter course, participants will also have the opportunity to earn their concealed handgun license through a free certification program hosted by Cox Firearms Training.

Hampton said the Sutherland Springs shooting, while tragic, was another reminder that active-shooter situations can still unfold in settings where people often feel most secure.

“It just goes to show that a lot of the places you may feel the safest are not off-limit for somebody who carries this kind of thing out,” Hampton said. “Obviously we hope that it never happens in Grayson County or anywhere else, but the reality is that it can happen anytime and anywhere.”

Qualified individuals who wish to participate in the training are asked to email Jeremy Cox at Sherman Bible Church is located at 2515 W. Lamberth Road.