MADISON (WKOW) — With the rise of mass shootings across the country, echoed by the WTS Paradigm shooting in Middleton, some businesses and churches have started putting more thought to how they can stay safe.
Many have turned to private security companies.
While Mount Olive Lutheran Church is empty during parts of the day, Pastor Jason Zobel takes the safety of the building very seriously.
“People are often like, why is a church locked and it’s like well unfortunately we have to be careful as well in this day and age,” Zobel said.
Locking doors is just the start.
Two years ago they began hiring private security.
This after Joseph Jakubowski was on the run for nearly two weeks, with more than a dozen guns and pushing an anti-government and religious ideology.
“The gentleman, we believe, possibly visited a church in Sun Prairie which raised a number of red flags,” Paul Skidmore, owner of S.P.S. Security said.
He said that’s when he started providing security for churches and mosques.
In his company’s first decade he had amassed 6 employees for patrols, until last year.
Now, he has 23 and he says the company keeps growing.
“Given the number of shootings at churches schools, day cares, many people feel like it’s important and necessary,” Skidmore said.
His company even provided security to the Hotels near the WTS Paradigm Shooting in September.
“It’s one thing when you hear about it in Texas or somewhere else, but when it gets close to home, particularly in your own state, that’s when people take notice,” Skidmore said.
Zobel says while there haven’t been any incidents so far, having security at the church has set them at ease.
“We’ve had a few people that give a little look of why are they here but the overwhelming majority have been really appreciative that if there was something to happen, we’re prepared,” Zobel said.
Private security companies in Madison say they are seeing growth.
Some of the older companies in town say what they’ve seen wasn’t as dramatic as S.P.S. Security’s.