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Ever wonder how safe your house of worship is?

WALLINGFORD --  Local religious leaders are reacting to Sunday's Texas church massacre and sharing how they are keeping their respective congregations as safe as possible.

The lead pastor of the rapidly growing New Life Church in Wallingford, where the membership has risen to over 1,000, believes they have taken a very proactive approach.

Seven years ago, while New Life was growing, they rented the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford and realized they were vulnerable, in terms of security. So, the church leadership has been gradually ramping it up.

During services and other events, staged on the 56 acre campus, on High Hill Road in Wallingford,  police are on site and the church has a staff of well-trained ushers.

"That's our elevated sound video booth," says Pastor Will Marotti, pointing toward the back of the sanctuary.

"Somebody's there (with a) walkie-talkie. Somebody is there (with a ) walkie-talkie. Somebody's here," he says pointing to different spots in the large room.

Among their standard security measures: checking all bags.

"When we have public events, like concerts, we check everything: backpacks, purses, diaper bags. You just can't take any chances," says Marotti.

And, the entire campus, including its buildings, is monitored by surveillance video.

"We will have someone in our office watching a large monitor with the video cameras," Marotti says.

And one of the reasons for so much surveillance: he says a recent study showed that 66 percent of church violence happens outside of the building.

"We don't want you getting that close to the building if you're going to be coming in looking for problems," the Founder of New Life Church said. "We are going to spot you before you get to the building."

Marotti, who is a popular midday radio talk show host on WTIC-1080, says he is going to petition the General Assembly to push legislation that would permit houses of worship to organize their own internal police force, if they wish.

"People who are well-trained, background (check), evaluated emotionally," said Marotti. "I mean, the right people. But, I think we're at that point."

He says he just hopes that these and other measures, which could not be shared, are enough of a deterrent to keep his campus safe.

"I just didn't want to have to live with myself and say I didn't do everything I could," he said tearing up.

He adds that his insurance company told him Monday morning that the New Life Church is better protected than the vast majority of the hundreds that they insure.

Several miles from New Life, in South Meriden, is the Baitul Aman Mosque, which was shot at two years ago in November.

A next-door neighbor, Ted Hakey, who was convicted of and served time for a hate crime, shot several holes in the side of the mosque, with the bullets penetrating the inner walls of their worship areas.

Fortunately, no one was in the building at the time. And leaders of the mosque say, aside from normal security measures, they take a critical step in keeping their congregation safe.

"From our standpoint, the first thing that we have, as the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, we have kind of a structure in place that we know every single member that's coming to the mosque and we visit them throughout their life as they're growing older," said Wajid Ahmed of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

He says, if you know the members of your congregation, it is, of course, easier to detect if something is going on in their life that might cause them to need assistance or be unstable in any way.