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February Community Security Forum

The safety and security of our Jewish community is one of our Federation’s top priorities—and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more secure environment than at our Jewish Community Forum on Thursday, February 26th.

Presented by the Los Angeles Police Department and our Federation’s Community Security Initiative (CSI), this forum brought together a dozen uniformed LAPD officers, as well as 80 rabbis and administrators from local Jewish schools and synagogues, for a timely and informative presentation about terrorism and active shooter incidents.

Opening remarks were made by Jason Periard, our Federation’s Director of Community Security, followed by LAPD Chaplain Rabbi Sholom Langsam, who invited attendees to join him in the Prayer for Peace. Our Federation’s Chief Operating and Financial Officer, Ivan Wolkind, was almost unrecognizable in his police uniform as he stepped up to the podium and revealed that he is an LAPD reserve officer. Captain Howard Leslie also gave an encouraging update on LAPD’s progress with domestic violence, homelessness and violent crime, guiding interested parties to visit LAPDwilshire.com for more information and resources.

Deputy Chief Michael Downing then presented his update on terrorism, surprising no one in the room when he said that there has been a steep escalation of the terrorism threat in the U.S. He explained that the LAPD diminishes opportunities for terrorists by prosecuting, but that they also try to reach out to those people who feel they are on the fringe of society and are distrustful of the government. The LAPD is going to be investigating the missed signs and signals that led to the Charlie Hebdo attacks in France, which will help law enforcement work on intervention strategies for individuals with terroristic tendencies. To illustrate how committed the LAPD is to working with and protecting the Jewish community, Deputy Chief Downing concluded his presentation by showing off some LAPD logo yarmulkes.

None of us wants to think about being present for an active shooter incident, but it is nevertheless something for which we should all be prepared. Educating attendees with his knowledge was Sergeant Mike Odle, who calmed everyone’s fears by saying that there are only about 20 mass shootings in the U.S. per year. Highlighting real-life case studies and screening short videos, Sergeant Odle shared best practices for people who find themselves in the middle of an active shooter event. The life-saving information provided gave attendees peace of mind as the forum came to a close, and will no doubt help our Jewish community be better prepared for any emergency situations that may arise.

The next event hosted by our Federation’s Community Security Initiative is the 3rd Annual Safety and Security Conference on Thursday, April 30th, taking place at The Jewish Federation from 8:00 AM-12:00 PM. Save the date and join safety and security experts as they discuss issues and best practices for Jewish institutions throughout greater Los Angeles. Joining us will be L.A. Deputy District Attorney, Major in the US Army Reserve and 2014 Congressional Candidate Elan Carr.

To RSVP for this event, please e-mail your contact information to CSIRsvp@JewishLA.org.  For more information about our Federation’s Community Security Initiative, please contact Jason Periard at CSI@JewishLA.org.

Launched in 2012, our Federation’s Community Security Initiative partners with local, state and federal agencies to assure the safety and security of all Jewish institutions in greater Los Angeles. CSI links institutions to a network of Jewish communal organizations and provides site assessments, emergency and disaster training, and special events that ensure that if a threat arises for any one location, we are all prepared.

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