Two Groups Criticize New Montgomery Police Dept. Program

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By Alabama News Network

A Montgomery Police Dept. initiative aimed at sending clergy members to crime scenes has caught criticism from an atheist organization and the American Civil Liberties Union.

The initiative, named Operation Good Shepherd, faces scrutiny from leaders of Alabama's ACLU chapter and the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Leaders of the groups say the program raises First Amendment concerns.

Susan Watson of ACLU Alabama says the government is required to be neutral in terms of religion, and the initiative makes it look like the department is favoring one belief system over others.

Montgomery Public Safety Director Chris Murphy says he'll discuss the initiative with the groups, but asserts that it's meant to lower Montgomery's violent crime rate.

Murphy compares the program to seeking help from the Salvation Army and the Red Cross.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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John Hazel said on Wednesday, Oct 9 at 11:40 PM

The ACLU and the FFRF need to stay out of Alabama affairs.

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