Texas church shooting causes Alabama Christian school to revisit plan for own police force

A Christian school and church in Birmingham, Alabama, is now revisiting its plan to implement its own police force in the wake of the mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, which left 26 people dead.

(WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / Cryx88)Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, AL. 11 May 2013.

For two years, Briarwood Christian School attorney Eric Johnston had attempted to get state legislature's approval on a bill that would allow large religious campuses to have its own police force. The recent mass shooting at the Texas church had stirred concern among a number of churches over their security measures, WBRC detailed.

"We are concerned the churches as well as other public places are obvious targets," said Johnston. "Even though you have police in the area, you know there is a time when a man with an automatic rifle can kill a lot of people. I think there is as low as a four minute response period, but still in four minutes a lot of damage can be done."

While Johnston said Briarwood has not yet confirmed if it would once again attempt to get approval for the bill, he noted that churches really need to do something to protect their congregation from future threats. The lawyer said they would be better protected with trained law enforcement officials guarding them rather than just civilians carrying weapons.

Meanwhile in western Wisconsin, Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald urged churches to be prepared for times that an active shooter is present. He and his staff are conducting active shooter training seminars in schools and churches across the area, Fox 9 reported.

Sheriff Fitzgerald instructed people to always run if the shooter is not nearby. He said mass shootings could happen anywhere and anytime, so it is important to gear up and practice what to do in such situations.

The congregation of Red Cedar Church in Rice Lake was one of the recipients of the active shooter training and simulation drills conducted by Fitzgerald's office six months ago. Pastor Craig Rayment said they do not "live in fear" but they just want to be ready with what should be done if they were unfortunate enough to experience such an attack.