Law enforcement vehicles allowed at churches

Published 2:33 pm Friday, January 10, 2020

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Due to the recent shooting at a Texas church and the continued threat to churches across the nation, Sheriff Wiley Griffin announced the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office will join other Georgia Sheriffs in allowing their deputies to drive their marked and unmarked cars to area churches they attend.

Griffin said the Sheriff’s Office does not have the manpower to patrol every individual church, but officers can patrol their personal church, and the Sheriff’s Office will continue to offer detailed security plans and training to any church that would be interested.

Since this announcement, Griffin said he has had several churches reach out to him.

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“We want to meet whatever needs they have,” Griffin said.

The Sheriff’s Office offers several options; they can visit the church and assess what the best security plan would be, but they can also train the church’s security detail in firearms.

Griffin knows there is a fine line between churches being welcoming, but also being secure. He suggests having a designated person welcome new members and meet new faces that can show them around and also assess if someone seems suspicious.

Griffin believes that this volunteer action along with having deputies will help law enforcement respond quicker in the event of a catastrophic event during church hours.

While Griffin knows it is a sad time in our nation when this happens, he does think it is becoming more common to carry a firearm in church for protection.

“Our society is changing, so we have to as well,” Griffin said.

Griffin, along with the Sheriff’s Office, is asking everyone to continue to keep the churches, the congregation and the nation in their prayers and to always remember the Sheriff’s Office is here to help in whatever way a church may need.