I’m grand knight of St. Anastasia Knights of Columbus Council #5911 in Douglaston, and with help from Father Mark Bristol we organized a security meeting on May 14 at St. Anastasia parish. Members of the 111th Precinct were present. We had many members from the parish in attendance as well as quite a few who are retired police officers and active members of the NYPD as well others in law-enforcement.
Officer Dino Puglia, who is a member of the Counter Terrorism Division of the Shield Unit, gave a talk on ways to protect our parish from attacks. Puglia pointed out that there have been many attacks on houses of worship in the United States and elsewhere in the world. He said we are living in a different world today and we must have plans to combat the threat of attacks. He suggested that our ushers are the eyes and ears in our house of worship and see who goes in and who goes out. We have the opportunity to see something and therefore must say something and report it.
Puglia took suggestions from those at the meeting. My suggestion is if I see an active shooter, I would immediately call 911. Dino said that’s good, but I should take the call outside or otherwise I could be a target. Another idea that came forward is that we should have cameras posted inside and outside the church. We should always be aware of our surroundings. Also, as a last resort, throw something at the shooter or confront the shooter to distract the shooter and take the shooter off his game and maybe give enough time to save lives. Another suggestion was that during important religious events maybe a police car should be posted in front of the house of worship.
Puglia also said the average shooting time is between seven and 11 minutes, and the average response time for the NYPD is between three and six minutes
These are important suggestions, but not to come up with a viable plan and not to be prepared could cause a loss of lives. The bottom line is this: Evil thrives when good people do nothing.
Frederick R. Bedell Jr.