“I knew just what to do when the active shooter lockdown happened – thanks to the Federation’s security training.”
With random violence becoming rampant in daily news reports, and anti-Semitism growing at home and abroad, the Jewish Federation sees security awareness and preparedness as a pressing need for the Jewish community. It has convened a Security Task Force and public/private partnerships across the public safety and law enforcement communities to bring high-level solutions to all Jewish schools, cultural destinations, community gathering places, service organizations, and synagogues.
Recently, when an active shooter lockdown took place at a public venue where a Federation partner (to remain unnamed due to the sensitive nature of the incident) happened to be conducting a routine meeting, the partner’s team leader was glad to have recently participated in trainings with the Federation’s Security Task Force.
“I didn’t panic or even hesitate. I just went into action. I won’t tell you exactly what we did, but the steps we took ensured everyone stayed calm and protected. We were relieved to learn in time that no one had been hurt and local law enforcement had neutralized the threat.”
The Federation is uniquely positioned at the hub of the Jewish community to bring together people, partners, and resources to address the community’s collective, unmet issues. As CEO, Keith Krivitzky says, “If not us, who?” In this role, the Federation conceived its Security Task Force.
The Federation’s Security Task force is made up of subject matter experts and works closely with law enforcement and public safety partners from the private and public sectors. In the last 12 months alone, their impact in the Jewish community – and beyond -- has filled important resource and leadership gaps:
- Thwarting a bias-based hoax targeting the elderly and others from the Jewish community.
- Providing assessments and coaching that contributed to more than one-quarter of all state Homeland Security grants (17 out of 58) going to Jewish organizations. This brought over a million dollars for security to the Jewish community in Monmouth and Middlesex counties, alone.
- Promoted the importance and introduced the resources for Jewish organizations to conduct security assessments, resulting in 45 individual facility risk assessments over a six-month period
- Advocating for – and helping secure – a 300 percent increase in State funding for security at Jewish schools.
- Invited Jewish organizations that did not receive Homeland Security grants to apply for Federation grants for security equipment. A minimum of 10 organizations will be awarded grants in the fourth quarter of 2016.
- Creating a new communications alert network connecting more than 112 local Jewish organizations with 260 security contacts to each other through the Federation’s Security Task Force, and to law enforcement and public safety partners from the Federal, state, county, and municipal levels for tips and alerts
- Created access to 16 separate security training programs conducted by either the Federation itself or one of its security partners for Jewish professionals and volunteer leaders -- featuring simulations, state-of-the-art tools, and access to high-level experts from the public and private sectors
- Bringing together legal and other professionals for a private briefing on cyber security with the NJ Director of Homeland Security.
The support of Federation donors, volunteers, and partners enabled the Federation to heighten security awareness and preparedness for the entire community in these ways. Still, the needs of the community continue to outpace available resources. We need everyone’s help for this Jewish community to thrive together. Please contribute today.