Dear St. Paul’s family,
In light of the recent tragedy in Poway, several people have contacted the Cathedral to ask about what we do to secure the campus and congregation. Our Director of Administration, Kathleen, recently briefed Chapter on our current and planned measures, and I want to share this information with you.
Things we do now:
- We now have 16 cameras around the campus in strategic locations (including all Cathedral entry and exit points), provided by a grant from the Federal government, providing live images, playback, and still images. We also now have intercom entry devices that allow us to buzz in visitors after viewing them on a monitor.
- Our excellent usher team works quietly during Sunday services to keep an eye on those in attendance and anyone who might merit closer attention. They do a very good job of balancing hospitality and security.
- Security guards are hired for three afternoons a week when the children are on campus. We also hire security for special services. This is not a cheap solution to our security needs, but one we have felt is worth the expense.
- Relationships with our San Diego Police community liaison and with the SDPD in general are excellent. When we have a special event that carries higher risk (such as dignitaries speaking at an event), we consult with SDPD and they are very helpful.
- After office hours we close certain entry points to better secure the campus. This is sometimes frustrating for folks, but we are able to monitor comings and goings with only the Olive St. parking lot door open after 5pm. We’ve restricted services such as clothing or food distribution to days when showers volunteers can help people. We no longer leave the bathrooms open during business hours for public use, after several incidents of damage and abuse; but cathedral members can obtain a code for the bathrooms from any staff member.
- Sextons patrol campus while they do their other chores, and are vital in the nightly process of securing the campus and ejecting any “stowaways” before shutting down.
- Staff and docents have an internal early-warning system in place.
We are planning several additional measures:
- Develop a Disaster Preparedness Committee to address various safety concerns in accordance with diocesan guidelines on readiness. This will include training for ushers, the congregation and volunteers with fire drills, active shooter training (which the staff has already received), evacuation drills and more.
- Expand the new locks and intercom system to additional locations.
- Seek additional government funding for further improvements.
- We also have a wishlist that depends on your willingness to help:
- Please do not provide food or clothing to unsheltered visitors. Unfortunately some of our neighbors are no longer welcome on campus but will continue to come if they are rewarded for showing up, causing disruption and putting the staff at risk.
- We need a corps of volunteers dedicated to working in a systematic way with unsheltered visitors on Sundays who come to campus for worship, fellowship and food. Staff, including sextons, have a lot to do on Sundays and are not permitted to stop what they are doing in order to provide goods or food for unsheltered visitors. The more parishioners who get to know our neighbors, the safer we will all feel and the more our neighbors will in turn look out for the Cathedral’s interests.
- Finally, we are in need of volunteers to attend and lead Morning and Evening Prayer during the week. We try not to leave a single individual, whether staff or parishioner, completely alone in the cathedral with the doors open at the beginning and end of the day. Watch for a letter soon with more details.
Your sister in Christ,