Category Archive: Jewish Security

Security: High Holidays 5780

Thinking High Holiday Security & Preparedness

After a year that included the horrible events of Pittsburgh and Poway, JCRC-NY recommends that Jewish institutions increase their levels of vigilance. This is especially true during the High Holidays, when people know that Jews congregate. Synagogues should review this document, ADL’s Security Recommendations For the High Holidays or SCN’s High Holy Days Security Planning. For more information click to our contact form here and someone will get back to you.

Your services are usually associated with larger than normal crowds and could be an attractive target for terrorism and other crimes. The single, most important step that congregations should consider: screen all attendees before they enter your premises. Your screeners (who might be equipped with a “panic button” to be used if there’s an emergency) may assess those with valid, High Holiday tickets as “pre-screened” (see “Ticket sales” below) so that+ any others merit a higher level of scrutiny. Trained guards, staff, or volunteers should conduct screening. Consider bag checks.

Hm-m-m-m-m. Any special planning for severe weather?

Here are some additional suggestions:

  • Create a culture of security. Institutions should not merely subcontract security. Even buildings with well-trained security personnel should expect that staff and constituencies should be part of the security equation. Everyone should have heightened vigilance in times like these. For tips on security awareness, Indicators of Terrorist Activity from the NYPD and/or the ADL’s Guide to Detecting Surveillance at Jewish Institutions.
  • Connect with your local police. Someone (or more than one) should have ongoing personal relationships with key police personnel. They should know you, your building and your organizational activities.
    • Discuss your security procedures with them and ask them for suggestions for improvement. Inform them of the dates and times of your services, regular events and special events.
    • Special attention is given to a synagogue based on an assessment of the current threat balanced by the availability of resources. In some jurisdictions it is a longstanding practice to assign police personnel to synagogues during services. In others, patrol cars are directed to visit synagogues at regular intervals. Discuss your situation with local police officials as soon as possible so that they have time to make their assessments and to secure the resources that they need to protect you.
    • In some instances, the traffic conditions surrounding services warrant police attention.
  • Private security. Some police departments allow private parties to hire off-duty officers in uniform for events (in NYC, contact the Paid Detail Unit). Others use other off-duty officers (hired privately or through a security firm), retired officers or hire private security guards.
    • Security guards must be trained in security awareness, understand your environment, be in harmony with your organization’s culture and be customer-service-oriented. You must clearly detail what is expected of your security guards, including specific duties, inspection of your facilities and your access control policy. (See more at the JCCA Security Readiness Manual, pp. 50 ff.)
    • Check that your security firm is appropriately insured and ask for a Certificate of Insurance naming your synagogue as an additional named insured.
  • Revisit and review your security plans and procedures.
    • Access control. Did you hear the one about a pro-Israel organization visited by a middle-aged, well-dressed woman saying that she wanted to make a contribution? They opened the door for her and a dozen protesters rushed in. Nine of the invaders were arrested. Are you vulnerable to such antics? Take the time to review your access control procedures. For more information and guidance, see JCRC-NY’s Sample Building Access Policies & Procedures (PDF).
    • Active shooters. Have a plan and train your staff and key volunteers on its implementation. See JCRC’s dedicated active shooter webpage here.
    • Bomb threats. Review your bomb threat procedures and make sure that your staffers (especially those who answer the phones) know what is expected of them. For a range of resources from top agencies, including the FBI and the DHS guidance click here.
    • Train your staff and key volunteers. It might not be practical to have evacuation/active shooter drills for your entire congregation before the holidays, but do conduct drills for your staff and key volunteers (e.g., ushers, area captains) as soon as possible. Get their feedback on your plans and update the plans as necessary.
    • Suspicious packages. Is your staff aware that they should be on the lookout for suspicious packages? For USPS guidance click here.
  • Assess your cybersecurity. Over the past month the websites of several Jewish-affiliated organizations were hacked. Protect your organization. See Cybersecurity for Jewish organizations 101: an update and how to have inexpensive and effective backup and other plans at Resources to prepare your organization’s technology for a disaster.
  • Questions? Click here to send questions, comments and suggestions.

Click here for an expanded PDF version of the JCRC-NY High Holiday Planning Thinkplate 2019. 

Security at the Celebrate Israel Parade

Posted on May 24, 2019

 

Remarks by

Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence & Counterterrorism
John Miller

May 23, 2019

The Celebrate Israel Parade is an important, annual event in New York City.  The NYPD and our law enforcement partners work with the parade’s producer, the Jewish Community Relations Council, to try to ensure that every participant and spectator will be safe. There will be a large detail of NYPD officers protecting the participants and spectators, supported by an array of counterterrorism tools and measures designed to ensure everyone’s safety. 

The NYPD works with the FBI and has over a hundred detectives assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). The NYPD closely monitored the progress of the Jonathan Xie investigation, culminating with his arrest Wednesday in New Jersey. I can add that as of this time, there are no known, specific, or credible threats to New York City, the parade, or the Jewish community.

Posted in Jewish Security

NSGP: Updated JCRC-NY Tutorial

Posted on May 01, 2019

From NY DHSES

Click here for the JCRC-NY updated Investment Justification tutorial.

From the NY DHSES FAQ’s

Question: What makes a strong Investment Justification?
Answer:

  • Clearly identified risks, vulnerabilities and consequences;
    Description of findings from a previously conducted vulnerability assessment;
  • Details of any incident(s) including description, dates, etc.;
  • A brief description of any supporting documentation (such as police reports or photographs) that is submitted as part of the application, if applicable;
  • Explanation of how the investments proposed will mitigate or address the vulnerabilities identified from a vulnerability assessment;
  • Establish a clear linkage with investment(s) and core capabilities (See National Preparedness Goal); see http://www.fema.gov/national-preparedness-goal for information on core capabilities;
  • All activities proposed in the application are allowable costs per the FY 2019 NSGP RFA;Realistic milestones that consider the Environmental Planning and Historic Preservation (EHP) review process, if applicable; and
  • Description of the project manager or managers’ level of experience.

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.

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.