Alabama governor signs law allowing church to have its own police force

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) signed a bill into law to allow a Presbyterian church to have its own police force.

The law approved during the most recent legislative session gives Briarwood Presbyterian Church and its private school on the same campus the ability to hire private police officers who can make arrests if crimes are committed on the property, according to The Associated Press.

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Officials from the church say a private police force is necessary to adequately secure the church and school, which has 2,000 students and faculty on its campus.

The law also applies to the church’s private academy located in a nearby county.

The police will have the same powers as regular police.

Randall Marshall, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama, told the AP that the law could give the church the ability to not report criminal activity that occurs on its property. He said the law will likely be challenged in court.

The new policy is scheduled to go into effect this fall.