In Rhode Island the Jewish Alliance is working with synagogues, day schools, agencies, Chabad Houses and university Hillels to make sure security is at the highest level. Since Oct. 27, you may have noticed increased police patrols around the Alliance, synagogues, police details at several synagogues for religious services and heard talk about more armed intruder training that will take place in the next few months.
There are many measures that have been put in place in the past few years by the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island as well as partner agencies. Many of these measures are not visible, but rest assured they are there.
As security liaison, I work closely with local law enforcement agencies on a daily basis. The Providence Police Department’s Homeland Security Bureau and Special Response Unit have been instrumental over the past two years in providing guidance and resources that enable me to be a resource not only for the Providence Jewish community but for the Greater Rhode Island Jewish community. I also rely on the expertise of SCN, Secure Community Network, the national homeland security initiative of the Jewish Federations of North America.
We have had relationships for several years with local law enforcement and SCN, but with the rise of anti-Semitism in the past two years our partnership with these agencies has reached a new level, which enabled our community to be much better prepared recently.
We all know costs can be prohibitive when it comes to infrastructure for security plans. One of the measures taken by the Alliance to help its partners was the 2017 security campaign, where almost $300,000 was raised thanks to the generosity of our community members. This money enabled us to have a grant process. Many of the local agencies and synagogues applied, and were matched 50/50 to help increase safety measures.
It is difficult to estimate what costs will be going forward, but, they will be high. For example, a police detail eight hours a week costs $500, which is about $26,000 per year. That said, we all know eight hours a week doesn’t cover everything – weekly Shabbat Services, Sunday School, Hebrew School, special events, etc. Long-term plans need to be put in place, with short-term action. This is our new normal. We have no choice, but to be as proactive as possible with security, and to keep it in the forefront of everyone’s mind.
The Alliance will be providing some additional funding for security. If you are interested or have questions, please contact me. Agencies and synagogues that received a grant in the initial process are not eligible for additional funds.
Wendy Joering is the Security Liaison for the Jewish Alliance and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 401-421-4111 ext. 169.