Religion

Virginia Sheriff, Churches Create 'Worship Watch' to Turn in Suspects

| by Michael Allen

The Hanover County Sheriff's Office has created a new "Worship Watch" program with churches, ministries, and non-profit groups in Virginia.

Similar to "Neighborhood Watch," church attendees can now be the ears and eyes of local law enforcement and report people suspected of crimes.

The roll out of the program is filled with positives and no questions about whether or not it's appropriate to ask religious folks to spy on one another.

According to Hanover County, Va. website, the mission of this program is "to reduce crime and the fear of crime in houses of worship and areas frequented by the faith community as well as provide for emergency preparedness partnership initiatives. We provide education and partnership opportunities to our faith community in an effort to recognize crime risks, train them to accurately report crimes, and be better prepared in the event of an emergency."

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"This program has been a vision of the sheriff's office for several years, and I'm pleased that it has become a reality," said Sheriff David Hines told WMBF. "This ongoing partnership will allow us to reach thousands of people, which will benefit our entire community in countless ways."

A flyer released by the sheriff's office states that law enforcement will "provide participants with a Worship Watch sticker to be posted in a conspicuous place signifying their participation in the program and a visible message to would-be criminals."

Sources: HanoverCounty.gov and WMBF