AMORY, Miss. (WCBI) – The Amory Police Department recently reminded its citizens about Homeland Security’s latest grant opportunity to enhance security measures for nonprofits vulnerable to foreign and domestic terrorist attacks.
“People see these incidents happen across the country and they think ‘Oh, not here,'” said Amory Police Lt. Andy Long. “And those places said the same thing that small communities in Mississippi say: ‘Oh, not here.’ Just like your first school shooting a Pearl, Mississippi.”
Those are types of threats Amory Police want local churches and nonprofits to be ready to prevent.
“Any of the mass shootings or church shootings, you know, they’re more frequent,” said Lt. Long. “This is not just for international terrorism but your local terrorism as well.”
The nonprofit safety grant is meant for places of worship as well as for any 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The money would go towards physical security improvements.
“You can beef up the door security, the fencing, any type of walls,” Lt. Long said. “They’re allowed to apply for up to $150,000 per organization.”
Amory has at least 10 to 15 churches and other non-profits in the city alone.
A new addition to the 2021 grant is the ability to spend it on internal communication devices or alert systems.
“If you have a notification pushout system in your church saying ‘this incident’s going on,'” Lt. Long said. “The radio systems for a lot of the churches, especially the bigger churches, that are starting up their security teams inside the church.”
Lt. Long says he believes Homeland Security and the Mississippi Department of Public Safety have done their part in informing people about the resources available for their protection and local law enforcement should do the same.
“I feel like it’s left up to local departments to make sure their people are aware of it in their area and surrounding area because again, if they’re enhancing their security then that helps us with our job.”
Lt. Long says Mississippi nonprofits have until April 16th to apply for the grant money.