Mar 132014

Father Stephen Page, pastor of St. Thomas More Parish in Coralville, poses with Coralville Police Officer Ben Hayden.

CORALVILLE — At the direction of the Davenport Diocese to provide ALICE (alert, lockdown, inform, counter, evacuate) training for catechists in case of an armed intruder, St. Thomas More Parish invited Coralville Police Officer Ben Hayden to give a presentation. He spoke March 6 to about 40 parish volunteers and staffers.
“My observation is that as we offer Mass, it’s about society gathered for sanctity,” Father Stephen Page, the pastor, said. “Since I’m in the cockpit, I’m concerned about sanity and safety, as well!”
Judy Frits, member of the St. Thomas More Church Life/ Family Life Commission, said: “It was thought-provoking that you need to think outside the box wherever you are … it makes you more aware of your surroundings.”
Don Frits, Grand Knight of St. Thomas More Knights of Columbus, said:  “The thought is that it helps to be aware, but not alarmed. You can’t worry about it, but you can think about it.”
Linda Milder, substitute catechist and member of the Church Life/Family Life Commission, said: “If you can avert other people being injured, it’s good to know you can do something and that you should. I hadn’t thought about how (the intruders) want the control … that if you can, get the control away from them.”
Officer Hayden said he was pleased to hear that participants got a lot out of the ALICE session. He added that it’s important for churches to begin asking the question “not IF, but WHEN.”

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