Fort Worth, TX – The Fort Worth police chief has urged his police officers to wear their uniforms at religious ceremonies after attacks that included a shooting at a Texas church and a stabbing during a New York Hanukkah celebration.
Police Chief Ed Kraus authorized officers to wear their full uniform while they are off-duty attending worship services, according to KXAS.
Chief Kraus said he hoped the sight of police officers in full uniform would give worshippers a sense of security.
“This is an easy win for us and the congregations,” Chief Kraus said, according to KXAS. “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.”
The Fort Worth Police Department also made the announcement on Twitter at the time.
“In the wake of the local attack on the West Freeway Church of Christ last Sunday, as well as the attacks on Jewish communities and church services nationally, Chief Kraus is authorizing and encouraging our officers who attend worship services to do so in full police uniform,” the department tweeted on Jan. 3.
“This simple act will help reassure congregants, as well as serve as a deterrent for anyone intending harm. Ideally, officers will first inform their worship leaders and obtain their agreement,” the department said.
Chief Kraus told KXAS that the idea came about after he put out a directive to make sure patrol officers were making stops at houses of worship on their beat.
The chief said he wanted the patrol officers to get out and interact with congregants and reassure them they were safe. An assistant chief brought up the idea about officers who go to houses of worship on their own time and being allowed to wear their full uniform, according to KXAS.
The department’s prior policy stated that officers are only allowed to be in uniform while they are on-duty, working a part-time job that has been approved, or appearing in court.
The response has been positive, Chief Kraus said.