Texas police encourage officers to wear uniforms in houses of worship after attacks on religious communities

KTRK logo
Saturday, January 4, 2020
EMBED <>More Videos

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott attends funeral services for one of the White Settlement church shooting victims.

FORT WORTH, TX -- Police in Texas are encouraging officers to wear their uniforms in houses of worship in light of recent attacks targetting religious communities.

Less than a week after a fatal shooting at a nearby church, Fort Worth Police tweeted that Chief Ed Kraus is "authorizing and encouraging" officers to wear their full uniforms while attending religious services.

The tweet also references the uptick in attacks on Jewish communities.

"This simple act will help reassure congregants, as well as serve as a deterrent for anyone intending harm," the department tweeted.

The chief urged officers to have conversations with worship leaders before attending service in uniform.

A gunman opened fire at West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement during last weekend's Sunday service, killing two. The suspect, identified as Keith Thomas Kinnunen, was taken down within six seconds by a member of the church's volunteer security team.

A Texas bill that took effect in September allows licensed handgun owners to carry those weapons in churches, synagogues and other places of worship.

Just one day earlier, a machete-wielding man hacked five people celebrating Hanukkah at a rabbi's home in a New York City suburb.

Jewish organizations are also encouraging worshippers to remain on high alert in light of the airstrike that killed a top Iranian general in Bagdad. Leaders of the Middle Eastern country promised vengeance, and police departments in cities across the country remain on high alert, despite no credible threats.