TOOMBS CO., Ga. (WTOC) -The Toombs County Sheriff’s Office is increasing its presence at local churches to deter criminal activity.
When a marked law enforcement car sits in the parking lot of a store or in the driveway at a house, it’s often a deterrent of crime.
“That could stop an armed robbery," said Toombs Co. Sheriff Alvie Knight. "That could stop something that could happen out there in the parking lot. Stop crime before it happens.”
Sheriff Kight is taking extra precautions at local places of worship.
“All of our deputies that attend a worship service, we are asking them to drive their vehicles to it.”
Kight says this new initiative allows the officers to drive their unmarked and marked cars to church when they’re not working, hoping that the cars will act as a deterrent for places that have been targeted by gunfire.
“I was relieved that our local law enforcement are taking it upon themselves to make sure that everybody’s safe here,” said Reverand Christian Burton with The Oaks Baptist Church.
Pastor Burton says they do have security in place.
“We have people in charge of security on Sunday mornings," says Burton. "They’re present in the facilities and on the grounds too.”
Burton says this added police presence is important to stop anyone with bad intentions.
“After all we gather in what we call a sanctuary, which means a safe place.”
Kight held a training workshop for local churches last year. He says they had a great turn out.
"We want to try and do everything we can to protect our citizens.”
Sheriff Kight says he hopes to hold more safety workshops here in the county for the local churches.