Ala. Senate votes to allow church to form PD
The church says it needs a police force to protect their school and 4,000 members
By PoliceOne Staff
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The Alabama Senate has voted to allow a church to establish its own police department.
According to FOX 5 Atlanta, lawmakers voted earlier this month to allow Briarwood Presbyterian Church to establish a police department.
The church, which has a school and a 4,000 person congregation, says it needs its own officers to keep its members safe.
Critics argue that a department that reports to church officials could be used to cover up crimes. Police experts have said such a department would be unprecedented in the U.S.
Alabama has given a few private universities authority to have a police force, but never a non-school entity or a church.
A similar bill is also scheduled to be debated in the House.