Two North Alabama counties are countering a recent spate of church shooting sprees by allowing off-duty deputies to drive their patrol cars when they go to places of worship.
Al.com reports that Lawrence County Sheriff Max Sanders and Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton have adjusted vehicle policies to give off-duty officers the option of taking their county vehicles to church. The move came after a man opened fire last month at a Texas church, killing two people before he was killed by armed congregants.
According to Sanders, the objective is to “create a greater visual presence within the community” to serve “as a deterrence.”
“This will be voluntary on the part of the deputy. Deputies, by virtue of their oath, always have certain duties to respond. This hopefully is another proactive/positive step in serving the citizens,” the sheriff said on Facebook.
The reasoning in Lauderdale County is the same.
“We felt like it was a good idea that any of our deputies who wanted to drive their vehicles to church on their off days would not be a problem,” Singleton told WHNT. “It would help us keep our community and our county safer.
“The vehicle itself is a deterrent and if someone pulls onto the campus with the intent of doing something they shouldn’t be doing, hopefully, they’ll think twice.”
The Alabama sheriffs aren’t the only ones looking for ways to protect churches. Last week, the Fort Worth Police Chief Ed Kraus encouraged officers that attend worship services to do so in full police uniform.