Ivey signs law allowing church to hire police force

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FILE – This Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017 file photo shows the sanctuary at Briarwood Presbyterian Church, in Birmingham, Ala. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has signed legislation permitting Briarwood Presbyterian Church to establish its own police force for its church and school campuses. (AP Photo/Anthony Izaguirre, File)

FILE – This Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017 file photo shows the sanctuary at Briarwood Presbyterian Church, in Birmingham, Ala. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has signed legislation permitting Briarwood Presbyterian Church to establish its own police force for its church and school campuses. (AP Photo/Anthony Izaguirre, File)


MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has signed legislation permitting Briarwood Presbyterian Church to establish its own police force for its church and school campuses.

The law approved two weeks ago allows the Birmingham-based church to set-up a private law enforcement department to make arrests when crimes are committed on its properties.

Church officials say the measure is necessary to provide adequate security for the 2,000 students and faculty on its two private school campuses.

Randall Marshall, the executive director of the ACLU of Alabama, says the law could allow the church to cover-up criminal activity that occurs on its campuses. He expects the law to be challenged in the courts for unconstitutionally granting government power to a religious institution.

The new policy will go into effect in the fall.

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