Security/Emergency Information

NYC School Security Guards Reimbursement: bridge loans

Posted on April 25, 2019

Nonpublic School Security Reimbursement Program (NPS)

Qualifying New York City nonpublic elementary and secondary schools with an enrollment of more than 300 can be reimbursed for the cost of certain security guard services (see the Final Adopted Rules for the program). They must “prequalify” online using the HHS Accelerator. Eligible schools should have already received a notice from NYC.

Note: The NPS Program 2019-2020 application filing period is open as of March 1, 2019 and will close on May 15, 2019.

New! Worried about cash flow? Interest-free financing is available for NYC-area projects/expenses covered by security grants, including this program. These loans are are intended to ensure that cash flow timing issues do not prevent qualified organizations from applying for security grants. For more information, see: https://hfls.org/loan-programs/security-infrastructure-loans/.

Do not delay. After completing the HHS Accelerator you will be contacted about signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). A qualified nonpublic school will not be eligible to apply for reimbursement for any security services until an MOU has been signed by the school and registered with the Comptroller. Only expenses incurred after the signing of the MOU will be reimburseable.

Please reach out to the DCAS Nonpublic School Security Reimbursement Program at 212-386-0040 or ContactDCAS@dcas.nyc.gov if you have any questions.

Contact Information

Mailing Address:

New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services
Attn: Nonpublic School Security Reimbursement Program
1 Centre Street, 17th Floor North
New York, NY 10007

Telephone:

Schools: 212-386-0040
Security Vendors: 212-386-0428
Fax #: 646-500-7142

Email:

You can email the Nonpublic School Security Reimbursement Program for more information.

Posted in School security

NSGP: More on contracted security guards

Posted on April 25, 2019

Updated April 25, 2019| U.S. DHS posted its Fiscal Year 2019 Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). We are reviewing the materials and have identified two key changes:

  • Grant amount. The maximum award this year will be $100,000.
  • Stacking the deck for new applicants. This year 10 bonus points will be added to the scores of organizations that never received NSGP funding. This effectively gives a serious advantage to newbies.
  • Security guards. Hiring of contracted security personnel is now allowed under this program (see the FEMA update here).
    • Note: Recipients of NSGP funding may use the grant to pay for contracted security personnel over the entire three year period of the grant. However, grantees should not assume that they will be successful applicants (you might not win a grant or this program may not exist in coming years) so you must be able to sustain this capability in future years without NSGP funding.
    • NSGP funds may not be used to purchase equipment for security guards. These costs should be classified as organization costs.
    • Subrecipients (grantees) may not use NSGP funding to hire full or part-time employees that will be placed on a nonprofit’s payroll.
    • Rob Goldberg of JFNA reports after speaking with FEMA, that the blanket waiver WILL be in place and interested subrecipients may now request up to 100% of their total award towards the cost of contacted security personnel.
    • JCRC comment: Make a case for security guards through an identified vulnerability included in your assessment (e.g., failure to review or monitor CCTV recordings for possible instances of hostile surveillance, inadequate access control measures, and or the lack of security guards during all hours of operation) and add “Contracted security guards” as an “Item to be purchased”  in IV.  Target Hardening (Note: there is no AEL number for Contracted security guards).

A case can readily be made for additional contracted security guards, additional hours or an upgrading replacement (e.g., unarmed to armed) of the existing guards.

Finally, we think that it is appropriate to remind you that security guards are no panacea. Security planning should entail a well-considered mix of personnel, plans, procedures, training, drills and exercises and security hardware. The judges tend to look at your assessments to see if you are addressing the most important vulnerabilities.

  • Investment Justification. At first glance we don’t see any changes in the 2019 Investment Justification. Download it here.
  • Timing. We estimate that the submission deadline for NY organizations be  mid-May. We will be producing and posting our tutorial material this week, but will schedule a webinar — with an opportunity for questions –after Pesach.

The New York Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (NY DHSES) posted its New York-specific Request for Applications here. Check their site and ours for updates.

The guidelines and the paperwork seems to closely track the FY 2018 guidelines  (with the exception of security guards), so if you have been drafting your applications based our existing help you will be in very good shape.

Heightened vigilence during Passover

Posted on April 17, 2019

As we prepare to celebrate Passover we should remember that the upcoming religious holidays (not only Pesach, but Easter and Ramadan) may provide increased symbolic interest to homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) and domestic extremists—including some perpetrators of hate crimes inspired by or adhering to domestic extremist ideologies—aspiring to target faith-based communities here in the United States. While security experts are not aware of any  credible threats surrounding the upcoming religious holiday season, we suggest — out of an abundance of caution — that all synagogues maintain heightened vigilance during Passover. See our suggestions below.

Threat background

While there have been no recent attacks or plots in the United States specifically targeting a religious holiday celebration, there have been successful and disrupted plots targeting faith-based communities here. Most HVEs and domestic extremists attempting any near-term attacks likely would use simplistic tactics and relatively easily obtainable weapons such as firearms, knives, and vehicles—although some violent extremists have sought to use explosive devices.

Recent incidents targeting houses of worship

  • On 15 March 2019, an Australian national allegedly used firearms to attack the Al Noor and Linwood Mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, resulting in 50 fatalities and at least 50 non-fatal injuries. Police also discovered two improvised explosive devices in vehicles in connection with the attack.
  • On 10 December 2018, an Ohio-based individual was arrested for attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) for allegedly planning a mass-casualty attack on a synagogue in Toledo, Ohio. When researching a location, time, and weapons for the attack, the individual allegedly expressed a desire to attack the greatest number of people and inflict mass casualties.
  • On 27 October 2018, a Pennsylvania-based individual, who has been indicted for multiple federal charges including violations of civil rights, allegedly shot and killed 11 worshippers at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, wounding two other congregants and four responding law enforcement officers. He is currently awaiting trial for hate crimes and other federal charges.
  • On 13 June 2018, a Wisconsin-based individual was arrested and charged with attempting to provide material support to ISIS. The individual allegedly used a pro-ISIS social media account to suggest potential targets for bombing attacks, including churches.
  • On 22 December 2017, a California-based individual was arrested and charged with attempting to provide material support and resources to ISIS for a planned attack on a shopping center in San Francisco, California. Investigative reporting indicates the attack was intended to take place on Christmas Day and inflict mass causalities.

Recent statements and media from foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs) and FTO supporters online continue calls for attacks against places of worship and specific religious groups. Although HVEs generally do not respond to specific events with violence, we remain concerned that FTO media condemning the New Zealand mosque attacks, coupled with the possibility of repeated calls from FTOs encouraging supporters to attack during Ramadan, could lead to the increased possibility of retaliatory attacks by HVEs in the United States.

Outlook

Religious holiday gatherings are an attractive target for HVEs and domestic extremists because they offer an opportunity to capitalize on large crowds and increased symbolism of the target; however, most violent extremists are unlikely to act on specific days or in response to calls for action, and are instead influenced by a variety of factors to mobilize to violence.

Action steps

  • Report. Anyone who observes any suspicious behavior is encouraged to contact law enforcement immediately at 888-NYC-SAFE. If you see something, say something.
  • Overview. Look at the recent DHS publication, Mass Gatherings: Security Awareness for Soft Targets and Crowded Places, can be a great template for your security planning process. Virtually every suggestion in the document can be applied to your planning process. Organizations should “Connect, Plan, Train, and Report”. Applying these four steps in advance of a possible incident or attack can help better prepare  us to proactively think about the role that our whole community plays in the safety and security of our organizations.
  • Connect. The first step in the process is to “Connect”. You should have an ongoing relationship with your local police precinct. They should know when your services and programs are scheduled. If you don’t know your local police officials, the JCRC can help. Click here to contact us.
  • Plan. Download Potential Indicators, Common Vulnerabilities, and Protective Measures: Religious Facilities and Hometown Security Report Series: Houses of Worship for  suggestions and ideas.
  • Active Shooter response. Many of our contacts attended active shooter trainings offered in the New York area last week. If you could not attend either session or another training, click here for the JCRC-NY dedicated Active Shooter Resources webpage that includes resources from many sources. If you want to arrange a training the JCRC can help, based on available resources. Click here to contact us.
  • Access control. If an attacker can walk into a building unchallenged bad things will happen. No unauthorized person should be able to enter your building at any time. The first step is to develop a feasible access control policy (see our Sample Building Access Policies & Procedures) and to keep any door that cannot be monitored and controlled locked.
  • Security personnel. Guards at synagogues vary in quality, but generally, almost anything is better than nothing. Volunteers are good, trained volunteers are better. Uniformed guards (e.g., identifiable shirts, vests, blazers) can be deterrents. Guards who are off-duty or retired police or corrections officers bring experience, training and judgement. To be effective, any guard has to have clear instructions and procedures (see below). NYPD does have a Paid Detail Unit which provides officers to perform off-duty, uniformed security work within New York City for approximately $45/hour.  Click here for more information and contact details. For a discussion of armed vs. unarmed guards see our post Armed or unarmed security, what’s best? and a guest post here.

Best wishes for a happy and safe Pesach.

Quick tips: What should your guard(s) be doing?
no-potted-plantGuards should not be merely uniformed potted plants adorning your lobby. Rather, they should be an important and active component of your overall security plan.If you have a single guard, his/her logical priority is access control (see our suggestions on how to develop an access control policy here). At the same time, don’t lose sight of other important functions, including:

  • Vigilance. While they are on duty they can observe what is going on outside your building and monitor CCTV, possibly leading to the early detection of hostile surveillance or imminent hostile acts. See our suggestions for detecting hostile surveillance here.
  • Walk-arounds. Remember the Chelsea bombs? They were hidden in a trash container and a suitcase. If someone planted a device in your garbage can would anyone find it? One best practice is to have your guard tour your facility, inside and out, looking for something that “Just doesn’t look right”.
  • Notifications.Your guard should be given defined protocol and procedures if something “Just doesn’t look right” : who to notify (e.g., senior staff, general alarm), how to act and what else to do.
  • Crisis management. A well trained guard should be able to follow the protocols and procedures defined by you. They should be able to support responses such as bomb threats, evacuations and/or sheltering-in-place.

The security management industry calls instructions for guards, “post orders” which clearly outline the duties, responsibilities, and expectations of security guards. For example, your post orders should clearly set forth your access control policies and define the areas of your property that should be included in a walk-around and their time and frequency (e.g., upon arrival and upon returning from lunch).

 

Passover fire safety

Posted on April 16, 2019

Passover is coming. Lots of cooking, candles and reasons to consider fire safety. Download the #FDNYSmart tips for Passover at https://on.nyc.gov/2VIh8fu.

Posted in Fire Safety

Nonprofit Security Grants: Updated

Posted on April 10, 2019

Updated April 16, 2019| The New York Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (NY DHSES) will have the New York-specific Request for Applications posted at http://www.dhses.ny.gov/grants/nonprofit/nsgp.cfm by the end of the day. Check back at www.jcrcny.org/securitygrants often to see our updates. Remember: all NY applicants are subject to the requirements, deadlines, etc. as set forth by NY DHSES. Note that there will be no information on the NY DHSES website (or in E-Grants) until they have the Request for Applications prepared. 

Key changes:

  • Grant amount. The maximum award this year will be $100,000.
  • Stacking the deck for new applicants. This year 10 bonus points will be added to the scores of organizations that never received NSGP funding. This effectively gives a serious advantage to newbies.
  • Security guards. The NSGP guidance now allows that the costs to hire a private security firm or off-duty law enforcement officers to provide security services to the facility or organization is permissible, as is the training of said security personnel (but not equipment of contracted security personnel). The recipient must be able to sustain this capability in future years without NSGP funding. Rob Goldberg (from the JFNA Washington Office and the key lobbyist for the NSGP) spoke with his FEMA contacts and reports that, “It means because the program is competitive, there is no guarantee of future years funding so the recipient may have to fund the project if they are unsuccessful in subsequent years. The language is an admonition, but it does not mean that an applicant must show, describe or otherwise prove that it has funding in future years to sustain security personnel.”
  • Investment Justification. At first glance we don’t see any changes in the basic questions on the 2019 Investment Justification. If you followed our advice and practices on the 2018 version, make sure that you submit the 2019 one. Download it here.
  • Timing. The deadline for NY DHSES submissions will be May 8th. We will be producing and posting our tutorial material this week, but will schedule a webinar — with an opportunity for questions –after Pesach.

The New York Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (NY DHSES) will soon post its New York-specific Request for Applications (it will be posted here). Check back often to see our updates. Remember: all NY applicants are subject to the requirements, deadlines, etc. as set forth by NY DHSES. Note that there will be no information on the NY DHSES website (or in E-Grants) until they have the Request for Applications prepared. 

No news yet on NY Hate Crimes grants

Please be advised that the NY DHSES is still processing the submissions from the December Securing Communities against Hate Crimes (SCAHC). We advise you to prepare two lists of priorities for your Investment Justification: 1) assuming that you receive the SCAHC grant; and 2) if you do not. NY DHSES is making every effort to let the December applicants know ASAP.

Getting ready for the grant
All organizations planning to submit for a grant this year should get started now, because the actual application may not be available until the last minute. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Get an assessment. If you don’t already have one, or have scheduled one, do so immediately. Since November, JCRC-NY, through a generous grant from UJA-Federation and the Paul E. Singer Foundation, has arranged for scores of professional security assessments for Jewish organizations. These assessments cover most of what is required on the federal Investment Justification (the major component of the application). By implementing the recommendations from the report, you should go a long way towards making your facility safer. Applications accompanied by self-assessments will be accepted. For more guidance click to: https://www.jcrcny.org/security-assessment/.
  2. Prequalify. Your Nonprofit Security Grant Program will not be accepted unless your organization is “Prequalified.” See more information at: https://www.jcrcny.org/document-vault-faqs/. If you submitted for a grant last year you are prequalified, but you may have to update some documents.
  3. E-Grants. NY grants must be submitted through the E-Grants system. Previous applicants already have an account. Otherwise, click here to apply for an account. N.B. JCRC-NY cannot answer questions about your E-Grants submissions. Contact DHSES at 1-866-837-9133 or Grant.Info@dhses.ny.gov.
  4. Investment Justification. This is the key component of the application. We don’t expect significant changes this year. Download the 2018 template here and answer all of the questions to the best of your ability now, so that you will be able to adapt your answers (if necessary) and cut and paste them into the 2019 Investment Justification, even if the application window is very brief.
  5. Help with the vulnerability and facility hardening sections. See our document, Tying together the risk and target hardening language. Select and build on our language to complete the most challenging sections of the Investment Justification.
  6. More help. Click here for the multi-year FAQ‘s on the NSGP distributed by FEMA. There are some interesting details in the FAQ’s.

    Get a head start on the application by reviewing the FY 2018 NSGP Investment Justification (IJ) questions and preparing your answers. Download a copy at: Investment Justification2018, JCRC-NY’s 2018 Tutorial (PDF of PowerPoint), JCRC-NY’s Tying together the risk and target hardening language and JFNA’s Threat Chronology.

    See our 2018 Tutorial (PDF of PowerPoint), Tying together the risk and target hardening language and JFNA’s Threat Chronology.