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Ottawa Co. holds workshops aimed at reducing church violence

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OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Thursday night marked the first of two workshops aimed at stopping church violence.

The Ottawa County Sheriff's Office hosted the event at the Grace Community Church, in Hudsonville.

Among the topics discussed were security preparedness and church safety.

It comes nearly a year after a man was charged with murdering nine people at a South Carolina church.

It was one of more than 1,100 deadly force incidents at a place of worship in the last 15 years.

"We're hoping that when they leave they can go back and say, this is who's going to be in charge of certain things in the church. So if and when emergency happens, they're going to have people trained that know what to do," said Captain Valeri Weiss, with the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office.

Phase two of the workshops will be held on February 20, and will train attendees on how to identify a suspicious person.

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