For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
“Over the past several weeks, the country has seen unacceptable and escalating threats and actual harassment directed at faith-based communities around the country, with a particular focus on threats to Jewish Community Centers. As a complement to on-going law enforcement efforts to investigate specific threats, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is working closely with Jewish communities to advise and support on protective measures they can put in place to help keep people in their community safe. DHS has Protective Security Advisors (PSAs) in all 50 states who serve as liaisons to government, industry, and community leaders, and who provide expertise on protective measures, threat reporting, and security awareness. DHS PSAs support state, local, tribal, territorial and community entities across the nation to ensure they are aware of these important public safety steps.
“In light of the nature of the threats to Jewish Community Centers, I have directed DHS to heighten our outreach and support to enhance public safety. Today, DHS’ National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) spoke with the Executive Directors of the Jewish Community Center Association of North America, who represents more than 150 community-based Jewish federations around the United States, which provide educational, cultural, social, recreational, and Jewish identity building programs. NPPD offered support from Protective Security Advisors in terms of training, protective measures, exercises, and information sharing.
“Our counterterrorism professionals stressed the renewed community-level outreach on the part of DHS and provided information on federal assistance available. These include a number of federal resources available, such as facility vulnerability assessments, as well as assistance to connect organizations with active shooter preparedness and bombing prevention training and guidance, tabletop exercises, protective measures, guides and other tools to strengthen security. Over the past 18 months, we’ve held active shooter preparedness workshops with Jewish Community Centers in San Francisco, Richmond, Va., Cherry Hill, N.J., and Miami, with more sessions planned in Columbus, Ohio, Wilmington, N.C. and Philadelphia. DHS has also hosted six exercises with members of the Jewish community to enhance contingency planning and response. Further, DHS provides this specialized assistance to houses of worship, schools, and community centers upon request.
“The right to worship and commune within and across faiths is fundamental to the American experience and our way of life. DHS will continue to support communities across the country to preserve these fundamental freedoms. I look forward to working with business, education and faith leaders to learn more about their needs and to share how DHS can support their communities to ensure they are better prepared and aware, and to manage the consequences of incidents if they happen.”
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