Sicklerville, NJ (WTXF) - Ahead of Easter, one South Jersey church isn't taking any chances when it comes to violence. A church in Sicklerville is stepping up security, including adding an armed officer.
It's Holy Week and Jim Ervin is here to pray at St. Charles Borromeo in Sicklerville.
"You don't come here to think about violence that's for sure.You come here for peace hopefully nothing will ever happen," Ervin said.
The pastor and staff here are doing more than "hoping for the best". They don't want to take any chances so there is now an armed police officer on the church grounds during mass times.
"I'm glad to see him and that we are being proactive with all the things in the news lately," Evans said.
It was the latest mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, that tipped the scales in favor of added security at St. Charles and the pastor announced the new security plan in the church weekly bulletin this month.
"This is a place of worship and just like schools, you would think those places are sort of off-limits," Parishioner Manny Ferreiros said.
Statistics in a church shooting database show more than 90 people have been killed in 22 incidents since 1999 with mass church shootings in South Carolina and Texas.
"It's a shame that we have to see police officers here and that the need in society is that we now have to have armed police officers in schools and churches," Ferreiros said.
There is also a new rule here that anyone who comes to church can not bring a backpack or duffel bag inside.