Fair For The Gander

Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama has just been granted authority by the Alabama legislature to form its own police department.

The church says it needs its own police officers to keep its school as well as its more than 4,000 person congregation safe.

Not sure how this differs from “hiring private security”, which plenty of churches do, or having church members train to provide security (as others do, sometimes with great and immediate effect).   Does a church feel it needs search and arrest powers?  I dunno.

Here’s the part that I think is interesting (emphasis added):

Critics of the bill argue that a police department that reports to church officials could be used to cover up crimes.

A church, with its own cop shop, could cover up crimes.

Hmmm.

Could be.  It’s an astute observation.

Doesn’t that also mean that any other body that has a police force could do the same?  Cities?  Counties?  States?  Universities?  The Feds?

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13 thoughts on “Fair For The Gander

  1. We can choose our church, avoiding the ones with bad doctrine. The same cannot always be said of government.

  2. One of my pinko Facebook friends posted about this yesterday and immediately it turned into “Oh no! Churches are militarizing! None of us are safe!” So much paranoid lunacy out there.

  3. This is an interesting case. If you look up in the church, it’s in a low crime suburb of Birmingham that spends on police about like Minneapolis, scaling for population. The trick is that Birmingham proper is, according to the FBI, one of the most violent cities in the country.

    And if you look at the complex on Google maps, it’s really about a dozen buildings with immense parking lots on a two lane road with worshippers coming who speak at least three and probably four languages. So what the church is doing here is getting dedicated police who know the campus, and if anything big does occur, it means they can instantly ask for backup from all the surrounding towns, and it also means that an officer can be there instantly to actually make arrests–a security team cannot do this. There is at least one church in the Twin Cities Metro that acts similarly.

  4. Living Word in Brooklyn Park, has a pretty big campus and I believe they have their own on site security.

  5. It wouldn’t be unheard of for a non-government entity to have a police department. The railroad companies all have their own police departments.

  6. Boho: “Living Word in Brooklyn Park, has a pretty big campus and I believe they have their own on site security.”

    I know they have volunteer security who do a fair amount of serious training. I’d imagine there are some paid security as well. I don’t get the impression it’s just a bunch of mall cops.

  7. NW: “Can they seize your car in the church parking lot and sell it for their own ends?”

    Divine Forfeiture is the new Offering Envelope.

  8. Seflores, to be fair, the Title IX persecutions are mostly by administrators, not campus police. Keep in mind here that having a police force for this church does NOT translate into their ability to imprison people for imagined crimes, and that if word got out that they were trying to do “preponderance of evidence” instead of “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt”, they’d quickly find that their force was unemployable elsewhere.

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