The top police force in Kentucky will NOT step in and block a church service featuring the rattlesnake that killed "Snake Salvation" star, Pastor Jamie Coots last Saturday.
TMZ broke the story ... the Middlesboro PD told us they would not enforce a state law prohibiting the handling or displaying of reptiles in religious services. Police Chief Jeffrey Sharpe told us the government has no business meddling in religious affairs.
So we called the Kentucky State Police ... they have the power to step in and take care of business if the local police refuses to enforce state law.
An official from the Kentucky State Police tells TMZ ... they acknowledge the law prohibits snake handling during services, but says unless they get a call from someone with a "legitimate" gripe, they won't barge into the service.
The new pastor, Cody Coots -- Jamie's son -- made it clear ... the same snake will be used in today's service.