LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. — It's been more than a week since a gunman killed two members of the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas. A member of the church's volunteer security team shot and killed the gunman within seconds of opening fire. The effect of that shooting is felt in the Shoals at Florence Boulevard Church of Christ.
Michael Gean is a Lauderdale County Sheriff's deputy and asked for permission to drive his patrol vehicle to church on Sundays while off duty. Sheriff Rick Singleton granted the request.
"We discussed it, 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," said the sheriff. "It would help us keep our community and our county safer."
The permission isn't just for deputies who attend a Christian church; off-duty deputies of any faith are allowed to drive their patrol vehicle to their respective house of worship.
"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," said Sheriff Singleton.
The sheriff says in recent years, the number of attacks in houses of worship has increased, calling it an unfortunate part of the times in which we live.
"Anything we can do in law enforcement to deter that or prevent it, obviously we want to do," said the sheriff.
In Lawrence County, Sheriff Max Sanders announced on Facebook that deputies there are also permitted to drive their patrol vehicles to church.