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Dealing with 'difficult guests' 

Can you drag 200 pounds for 50 feet horizontally in 20 seconds? Wear a ballistic vest for a full workday? Maintain a storehouse of weapons? Train others how to use their firearms? Investigate your co-workers? Assist HR when they are firing employees? Provide a "sympathetic ear" to distraught visitors while enforcing security? Subdue irate and irrational people without injury to yourself or others? Help get rid of explosive devices at the workplace?

If so, Focus on the Family has a job for you. But only if, while filling in as one bad mofo, you are also a consistent witness to Jesus Christ who "models a high degree of integrity, ethics, compassion and morals based on Biblical standards."

Oh, and with a "courteous, humble attitude" to boot.

The Colorado Springs ministry-slash-armory is currently seeking a lead security officer.

The salary is only $34,080 a year. But one of the job perks initially advertised at the ministry's Web site, but then mysteriously removed after this reporter made an inquiry is to serve as the "liaison" between Focus on the Family and the Air Force Academy, which has invited ministry officials to shoot at its tax-funded rifle range for at least six years.

Air Force Academy spokesman 1st Lt. John Ross says plenty of government agencies use its rifle range including the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, IRS, Department of the Treasury and the Colorado State Patrol. But Focus on the Family is the only private organization with clearance. Two security personnel from the ministry, Ross maintains, currently use the neighboring Academy facility.

"They're one of the few churches that requires armed guards," he notes.

"The way it works is," Ross continues, "Focus on the Family, when they come out, they bring their own targets and their own rounds and work around our schedule. We give them no financial support or instruction, and they use all their own equipment. Basically, all they do is, they shoot into our dirt out here."

In 1996, Kerry S. Dore, who had been injured on the job several years earlier while helping to build Focus' mammoth northern Colorado Springs headquarters, stormed the building. He took two receptionists hostage and menaced two other employees. After six tense hours, Dore surrendered, without anyone being physically hurt. A sign next to the bullet hole just inside the ministry's entrance attributes the "power of prayer" as having helped end the standoff.

But obviously, prayer isn't the only power that the ministry, which employs 1,300 people, is counting on for protection these days.

In addition to providing security to the ministry's president and other senior VIPs, the lead security officer works with officers from the Colorado Springs Police Department and El Paso County Sheriff's Office, who are hired on a contract basis by the ministry during special events.

These are among the lead security officer's extensive "essential duties," as written in the job posting:

Provides a physical security presence and emergency response during work hours

Provides personal security for the president and various VIPs when on site as necessary for back-up

Provides security for the president during off-site travel as required

Assists receptionists in dealing with difficult guests

Oversees and provides maintenance of department's weapons and equipment

Serves as Firearms Training Specialist, Simunitions Trainer, Armorer and Equipment Specialist for the Security department

Serves as Range master overseeing department training on pistol range

Serves as liaison to Air Force Academy shooting range, Colorado Springs Police Department and El Paso County Sheriff's department (Editor's note: This is the reference that was removed from the ministry's Web site after a reporter inquired about Focus on the Family's use of the tax-funded rifle range.)

Assists Human Resources when requested during termination interviews

Provides sympathetic ear to distraught visitors while enforcing security

Responds and assists in potential explosive device evaluation/removal

Provides investigative and reporting services regarding employee activities as requested by Employee Relations

Sure brings new clarity to Focus on the Family's creed: "A religious organization dedicated to the nurturing and defending of families worldwide."

degette@csindy.com

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