Displaying 30+ Stories

Shielding the Sanctuary: Church Seeks Green Light to Create Own Police Force


A church in Alabama may be about to get its own police force.

Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham says it needs its own police officers to protect its Christian school and more than 4,000-person congregation.

Creating a police department for a church would be an unprecedented move in the U.S., according to some police experts.

But churches have been targeted for violence in recent years. ISIS even called for a terrorist attack on First Baptist Church of Dallas a few months ago.

So far, the Alabama Senate has given approval for a Briarwood police force, and the state's House is debating the issue.

Critics of the idea argue that a police department that reports to church officials could create a conflict of interest, leading to possible cover-ups in the future.

Alabama has already given a few private universities the authority to have a police force, but never a church or non-school entity.

"We've got over 30,000 events a year that take place at Briarwood - going on all day, all night, at the school, at the church, at the seminary," church attorney Eric Johnston told AL.com. "We have to hire policemen all the time. It would be so much easier to have someone on staff.

News Articles