Church-going deputies encouraged to drive patrol cars to places of worship

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WALKER COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — The Walker County Sheriff’s Office announced deputies are being encouraged to drive their take-home patrol cars to church or their respective place of worship.

The announcement comes after two church-goers were shot and killed at West Freeway Church of Christ near Fort Worth, Texas.

In a Jan. 5 Facebook post, the WCSO said, “We live and serve in a world that is undoubtedly filled with evil.”

Deputies are typically not allowed to drive their patrol cars for personal reasons, but the WCSO is making days of worship the exception.

“Just having an officer presence is obviously the first step in the worst continuum, but it’s really a deterrent for crime, any time you see a marked vehicle, so Sheriff Nick Smith is allowing deputies to take those to church,” Community Relations Deputy TJ Armstrong said. “It’s going to provide that extra layer of security, that deterrent to keep crime away at that particular location.”

Armstrong says deputies that do not attend church will not be made to go to services with their patrol units.

Several local churches already undergo active shooter training to learn how to respond in the worst-case scenario.

“We’ve asked in the past for any of our churches to be prepared, in case that may happen. We hope it never does, but I think it’s a wonderful idea,” David Miller, the director of Missions for the Walker County Baptist Association, said.

Miller says he welcomes the additional security the deputies’ marked cars will bring.

“I think it’s an outstanding benefit to us to have our deputies willing to do that,” he said.


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