Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Alabama: Bill Allowing Church to Establish Its Own Police Force Moving through the Legislature // Updated Below...

(Originally written on 02/18/17): I just learned that there is a bill moving through the Alabama legislature that would allow a church to establish its own police force. The church in question is Briarwood Presbyterian Church and it's in Vestavia Hills, AL. The bill has passed through the House Public Safety Committee and will now move to the full House for consideration.

According to this article, Republican legislators are open to other churches who want to establish their own internal police departments. Why?:
“They will conduct their own investigations,” explained (Rep. Connie) Rowe. “They will conduct their own security. They will make their own arrests and instead of calling on the local law enforcement agency to take over the particular situation they're trying to control, they will do that themselves. All they will utilize from their other law enforcement agencies is their lock up facilities.”
The church police will be directly answerable to church leadership.

It makes you wonder how safe an individual church is that they actually feel the need to call on the police for security or internal investigations. I understand that stuff happens. There were two church-based arrests in Iowa last month involving mentally disturbed individuals who were out of control. But those incidents are actually very rare. I cannot imagine why any church would need its own police force.

Updated on 04/12/17: The Alabama Senate voted yesterday to allow Briarwood Presbyterian Church to have its own police force by a vote of 24 to 4. The vote still needs to be debated and voted on by the Alabama House.

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