God reference on patrol cars stirs debate in Hillsdale County

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JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) – A controversy is brewing in Hillsdale County as the sheriff’s office puts the phrase “In God We Trust” on all of its patrol cars.

The sheriff says a lot of people in Hillsdale County support this new addition to his patrol cars.

“I being a firm believer in God almighty, wanted to honor that aspect and at the same time be honoring to my country,” said Hillsdale County Sheriff Timothy Parker.

Stickers reading “In God We Trust” were recently put on all of the office’s patrol cars and paid for by a private donation.

Sheriff Parker, who just took office last month, says he isn’t trying to make a bold statement.

“To let people know that ‘In God We Trust’ is the national motto of the United States, and it’s also a statement for us as officers,” Parker said. “Those concerns are not valid about us not providing proper service for someone who may not believe in any God.”

However, some believe a reference to God has no place on government vehicles.

“The slogan they have decided to put on there created a divide, I think,” said Hillsdale County resident Tia Spratt.

Spratt feels the phrase doesn’t represent everyone in county.

“There are so many things you can pick from our history that would set more a neutral tone, that would satisfy everybody,” Spratt said. “In order to keep our true religious freedom, we have to maintain freedom from government sponsored religion.”

The sheriff says this is a tense time for law enforcement, and having this sticker reminds his deputies to keep faith in difficult situations.

“They have themselves have said a quick prayer requesting guidance, protectionism,” Parker said.

Spratt says she’s in contact with the ACLU about this matter.

Sheriff Parker says he will stand firm with whatever happens, and the phrase will stick, even if his employees have a problem with it.

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