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Church Security Expert Comments on Church Shooting Death of Abortion Provider

by Staff
June 1, 2009

WICHITA, Kans., ( -- Prominent late-term abortion provider George Tiller was shot and killed today (Sunday, May 31) in a Wichita church where he was serving as an usher. The gunman fled, but a city official said a suspect is in custody.

Long a focus of national anti-abortion groups, Tiller was shot during morning services at Reformation Lutheran Church while his wife was in the choir, his attorney said. Tiller's Women's Health Care Services clinic is one of just three in the nation where abortions are performed after the 21st week of pregnancy.

Anti-abortion groups denounced the shooting and stressed that they support only nonviolent protest.

The following statement was issued by Jeffrey Hawkins, executive director of the Christian Security Network (CSN) (, a national organization that provides security planning, training and emergency preparedness and response resources for Christian churches, ministries, schools and missionaries:

"All churches share exposure to crime and violence. However, if a church has a leader or member that has a high profile or is controversial -- or if the church has taken a stance on a controversial issue such as abortion or gay rights, whether pro or con -- they are at a higher level of risk and need to take greater precautions.

"Church security is about protecting all people that come into the church, no matter what their opinions may be. The church in Wichita had greater risk simply because this doctor attended. There was an attempt on his life in the past, and there was no reason to believe there would not be another."

Hawkins said this marks the 15th violent incident against Christian churches and the sixth related death since the beginning of 2009.

Formerly chief security officer for a large international Christian ministry, Hawkins is a senior public safety and security professional with almost 30 years experience working for profit, not-for-profit and government organizations locally, nationally and around the world.

Hawkins is a Certified Institutional Protection Manager (CIPM) and a Certified Institutional Protection Instructor (CIPI). He currently serves as a constituent member of the U.S. State Department Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) and a volunteer leader for the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS International) Leadership, the world's largest organization of security professionals.

A Chicago native and a graduate of the Chicago Police Academy, Elmhurst College (B.A -- Business Administration), and National-Louis University (M.S -- Management), Hawkins has more than 1,000 hours of post-graduate training in security, law enforcement and emergency management with such specialty agencies as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and counter terrorism agencies in Israel.

Hawkins has worked with White House Advance Teams under Presidents Reagan and Clinton, conducted investigations with the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and coordinated protection details for politicians and foreign dignitaries with the Diplomat Security Service (DSS), the U.S. Secret Service and foreign security agencies.

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