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Church Can Start Its Own Police Force, Alabama Senate Says

A vast church in Alabama is one step closer to formulating a possess military force, a pierce that seems to be but fashion in a U.S. The state’s Senate has certified legislation that would give church military officers a same powers other law coercion officers have in Alabama.

After being certified by Alabama’s Senate on a 24-4 vote, a check now heads to a state House of Representatives, where an matching check was sent to a Public Safety and Homeland Security cabinet in February.

Both chambers’ legislation privately names Briarwood Presbyterian Church, a Birmingham megachurch that “says it needs a possess military officers to keep a propagandize as good as a some-more than 4,000 chairman assemblage safe,” Alabama Public Radio reports.

For a third uninterrupted year, a Alabama Legislature is deliberation a check that would let a Briarwood Presbyterian Church congregation, one of a largest in a state, emanate a possess law coercion dialect with sworn military officers.

Anthony Izaguirre/AP


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Anthony Izaguirre/AP

For a third uninterrupted year, a Alabama Legislature is deliberation a check that would let a Briarwood Presbyterian Church congregation, one of a largest in a state, emanate a possess law coercion dialect with sworn military officers.

Anthony Izaguirre/AP

Police officers hired by Briarwood Presbyterian would need to be certified by a state standards and training commission, according to a bill, SB193. The officers’ management would be limited to a church’s campuses and properties.

The officers would be given “all of a duties and invested with all of a powers of law coercion officers in this state,” a check says.

A orator for a church tells contributor Andrew Yeager of member hire WBHM in Birmingham that a church was changed to emanate a possess military force after a 2012 Sandy Hook propagandize shootings.

In Yeager’s news for today’s All Things Considered, he says that a bill’s categorical sponsor, state Sen. Jabo Waggoner, is assisting a church understanding with confidence needs that aren’t met by a private confidence it’s already using.

“It was their decision,” Waggoner tells Yeager, “and if they wanted to have their possess military force, we know, we don’t see any reason because they can’t. It’s not unusual.”

This isn’t a initial time Briarwood’s bid to form a military force has been permitted by both houses of Alabama’s Legislature. As The Associated Press reports, a identical check that was certified final year eventually unsuccessful after then-Gov. Robert Bentley didn’t pointer it into law.

While churches have been famous to form their possess watch programs to raise confidence and reserve in North Carolina and elsewhere, an NPR hunt for any prior instances of a U.S. church combining a possess military force incited adult no formula Wednesday.

Earlier this month, Alabama’s House adopted a Alabama Church Protection Act, that would assistance eremite groups form armed confidence patrols.

It authorizes “any church or place of ceremony to settle a confidence module by that designated members are certified to lift firearms for a insurance of a assemblage of a church or place of worship.”

The act also provides “limited shield for members of such a module when they’re behaving within their duties.