The Fort Worth police chief is authorizing officers who attend worship services to do so in full uniform.
The decision comes after Sunday's deadly church shooting in White Settlement and attacks on Jewish communities around the country.
Police Chief Ed Kraus said he hopes uniformed officers would give an extra sense of security and safety.
"This is an easy win for us and the congregations. The taxpayers aren’t paying anything additionally for this. We’re not telling our officers they have to go out to houses of worship. This is for officers who are already practicing their worship and just allowing them to wear uniform while doing so."
Kraus said the idea came after he put out a directive to command staff regarding patrol officers.
"This weekend, I put out a directive to our command staff that they needed to make sure our patrol officers were patrolling the houses of worship on their beat and instructed the officers to get out and actually interact with the congregants as time allows to give them reassurance that they’re safe at their houses of worship," he said. "When I sent that out, one of our assistant chiefs Charles Ramirez contacted me that he had an idea that perhaps if our officers were going to their houses of worship on their own time, that we allow them to wear their uniform while doing so as a further measure to help the congregants in their choice to worship."
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Current policy states police officers are only allowed to be in uniform while they’re on duty, working an approved part-time job or testifying in court, Kraus said.
So far, Kraus said the response to the announcement was positive.
A spokesperson for Gateway Church, which has several locations across North Texas, said they supported the move. They sent the following statement to NBC 5:
"At Gateway Church, we place a very high priority on and are intentional in implementing strict security measures to help ensure the safety of our church congregation, our members and our staff.
Not only do we have uniformed, trained security officers at all of our Gateway Church facilities, we also contract local law enforcement officers during all of our services. We feel a strong security presence both uniformed and non-uniformed is necessary and appreciated by those who attend our services and events.
We are heartbroken by the recent tragedy that took place in a church service at West Freeway Church in White Settlement. Our prayers continue for that church and to all those families in our community impacted by this tragedy."
Pastor Bill Egner with Christ Chapel Bible Church said he agreed. The following is a statement sent to NBC 5:
"As a church family, Christ Chapel has always been deeply grateful for the care and sacrifice of our local police departments. Following last Sunday’s tragic events, we are eager to help all those who have been affected, including the police officers that are part of our church community. We support Fort Worth Police Chief Kraus’ desire to help the city feel safe and would echo that sentiment by welcoming the officers who worship at Christ Chapel to come dressed however they feel most comfortable, including in uniform."