SYLVESTER, Ga. (WALB) - Worth County Sheriff Don Whitaker is making a change in an effort to prevent church shootings from happening in the area.
Whitaker has started letting his off-duty deputies drive their marked patrol cars to church.
“It’s a deterrent to a possible criminal or suspect that would go into a church or we hope it would be anyways. I hope the patrol cars being seen outside churches help and deter such crime,” Whitaker said.
This is in response to so many church shootings in our county, including one of the most recent in Texas leaving two parishioners dead.
Whitaker said he’s got great feedback.
“People like having patrol units there and I would encourage the police departments within the city limits if they would allow their police officers to drive their patrol cars to church also,” he said.
They’re also offering a safety training program for churches to keep their worshipers secure during service including tips like having cameras at every entrance and exit and walking patrols.
“It’s sad that it’s come to the day and age where you have to carry a weapon to go to church," Whitaker said. "It’s sad that anyone would have the gall to go into God’s house and rob or kill in God’s house but it’s come to that and were going to take whatever steps to make sure that doesn’t happen in our county and if it does, we’re going to deal with it.”
If you would like to set up an appointment for training at your church, just all the Worth County Sheriffs Office at (229) 776-8211.