BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A large church in Alabama seeks its’ own police agency to protect their campus. The Briarwood Presbyterian Church already has more than 4,000 members, two private schools and its own radio station. And if administrators have their way, the wealthy congregation could soon add something that no other American church has: its own police force.

With a membership larger than many small towns, Briarwood has asked the state Legislature for permission to set up a private law enforcement department to watch over its flock and schools, reported ABC News.

The Birmingham church hires off-duty police officers from nearby jurisdictions to cover its events, but it says there often are not enough officers available to help. Church officials also worry about mass shootings, such as the attacks at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut and the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina.

The bill was introduced by Republican Rep. Arnold Mooney, whose wife and daughter work at Briarwood Christian School. All three of his children graduated from Briarwood schools.

“Officer presence is the No. 1 line of defense,” he said in an email.

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