Federation’s Director of Community Security Initiative (CSI) Jason Periard and Chief Operating and Financial Officer Ivan Wolkind
As we gather to observe and celebrate the High Holy Days this year, now more than ever, safety is on all of our minds. Federation created the Community Security Initiative (CSI) because the security of our institutions is a priority. As a result, despite the reality of the rise in anti-Semitism and the recent acts of terror, the systems that keep us safer throughout Jewish Los Angeles are at work for you.
Since they know their environment best, employees or volunteers at our institutions have the power to function as an early warning system. In 2016, we created and launched Personnel Resiliency Training, a course that raises awareness and changes their mindset. To date, seven classes have been held. Whether they are in the front office of a synagogue or day school, 222 trainees are now prepared to recognize and report pre-incident indicators, actions which can be critical to site security.
In the event of an intrusion, lives can be saved when a teacher and their students can secure a classroom while help is on the way. This year, as part of Project Safe Classroom, we distributed hundreds of crisis response kits to Jewish schools in L.A. Every classroom now has a backpack containing items that can mitigate a crisis. And all school professionals have on-site training in how to use them — should they need to.
To increase the security of Jewish institutions that prohibit the use of electronics on Shabbat, CSI created Shabbos Link, a threat alert device that requires no human interaction. To date, 48 of the 50 budgeted devices are in operation, covering 25% of all synagogues in our community.
Because information is power, CSI has conducted over 300 site visits and created an extensive database that includes more than 465 Jewish schools and places of worship in a 1,440 square-mile area. CSI is the only non-law enforcement entity trained and authorized by the Department of Homeland Security to use their system and methodology to provide the highest level of protection to all institutions we track. We recently established a 24/7 hotline to enable Jewish leadership to make contact and provide tips. Our Mobile Alert Capability system sent approximately 300 alerts last year.
Historically working behind the scenes, this past March, CSI held its first Security Response Town Hall at Federation. Our community heard directly from Charles Beck, Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, as well as senior members of local and national law enforcement and our CSI leadership.
And this spring, CSI was presented with the Building Resilience with Diverse Communities Award by the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency. Federation’s Chief Operating and Financial Officer Ivan Wolkind and Director of Community Security Jason Periard accepted the honor at the White House in Washington, D.C. CSI also received the Extraordinary Support Award at the Los Angeles InfraGard Gala.
“CSI was created to build resiliency and ensure security throughout Jewish Los Angeles,” said Jay Sanderson, Federation President & CEO. “I am proud that we can all count on their determination to fulfill this mission.”