EUGENE, Ore. -- With two acts of violence during two different religious ceremonies, houses of worship are once again asking how they can defend themselves.
For the past five years, retired Eugene police Lt. Tom Eichhorn has been the Safety Training Director for New Hope Church in Eugene. He trains parishioners how to engage with potential threats. He said they have trained more than 2,000 people across the Willamette Valley.
"I've always said it. If through our training, through our intervention program, we can save one life, then everything that we've done is worthwhile. Everything," Eichhorn said.
Eichhorn said that there are different levels of training. The most common one people request is the basic level in which Eichhorn trains churchgoers how to spot a potential threat and talk them down.
"We have awareness training we give all of them. It teaches people what to look for, how to denote when someone is in crisis," Eichhorn said.
For pastors like Dewayne Peters of New Hope Church, Eichhorn gives him a peace of mind there is a team watching out for him and his congregation.
"It's such a benefit to us and this body at New Hope Eugene," Peters said. "We are just thankful for our team, and we love our team."