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FBI offers religious leaders active shooter training in Urbandale

This is the first time the FBI has offered this type of training for houses of worship in Iowa.

URBANDALE, Iowa — New Hope Assembly of God in Urbandale is usually a place of worship. On Thursday, it was also where the FBI took center state for active shooter training.

Fifty Iowans from various places of worship across central Iowa took part in the training which included hands-on experience with things like applying a tourniquet and confronting an active shooter.

"We do have concerns, said Jeff Ritter, who is part of the church's safety team. "We look at threat numbers and attacks on house of worship and even other places you never would have expected 15, 20 years ago."

That's why church leaders said they reached out to the FBI for help.

"If we're going to save lives by preparing, why not go out and do that to the local communities that want it," said Phil Lenz, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI's Omaha field office.

Assistant Special Agent Lenz said this is the second training of its kind his office has provided and the first in Iowa.

"If we're going to save lives by preparing, why not go out and do that to the local communities that want it," he said.

These trainings follow an incident in early 2022 where a man took hostages at a Texas synagogue.

"The rabbi said that the training that he had received was paramount in the survival of the hostages," said Lenz.

Ed Leedon, who's been a member of the church for nearly two decades said he is hoping to share what he learned with friends and family.

"A thing like today just helps people become more aware of what's going on."

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