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New security measure aims to give Yancey County church members peace of mind

WLOS Staff

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    YANCEY COUNTY, N.C. (WLOS) — One mountain county is increasing its security at some of its churches.

Come Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020, off duty sheriff’s deputies in Yancey County can park their patrol cars at the churches they attend.

The pastor at Concord Baptist Church says the extra presence will be helpful.

In Yancey County, with a population of roughly 18 thousand, sheriff’s deputies say there are at least 125 churches.

“Church plays a big role,” says Yancey County Chief Deputy Shane Hilliard. “I would say the majority of our county attend church on a weekly basis.”

Hilliard says it was the most recent church shooting in White Settlement, Texas, that lead the sheriff’s department to amend its patrol vehicle usage policy.

“Last week, we actually saw a press release from a department in, I believe, Ohio, doing the same thing. We talked about it and thought this would be a good fit,” Hilliard said.

Dr. Bradley Boone has been the pastor of Concord Baptist Church in the Pensacola community for more than 20 years.

Five of his members are sheriff’s deputies.

“I think it’s a great idea and again, just adds a layer of security we didn’t have,” says Pastor Boone.

Pastor Boone is also a longtime deputy. He still works in law enforcement part-time.

“In church security, our aim is to keep everything outside, for it not to come into the sanctuary, and having patrol cars in the parking lot might keep it off the property completely,” says Boone.

“I think anytime you have a marked patrol car, whether, at a school or church or place of business anywhere, it’s just a visible deterrent that there is , for sure, someone in that building who is armed and trained,” Hilliard adds.

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