Mindful that the number of reported post-election hate incidents rose in 2016, ADL is redoubling its efforts to provide leaders of religious and community institutions with the training they need to prepare for the possibility of hate-motivated violence and targeted attacks.
In 2016, ADL’s regional staff held nearly 50 trainings for 3,000 people representing 500 institutions in 13 states – reaching twice as many trainees as in 2015. Most of the trainings were offered in partnership with the local FBI field offices, police departments, U.S. Attorney’s offices or other law enforcement agencies.
The trainings are designed to help leaders from local religious institutions, including synagogues, mosques, Sikh temples and churches, as well as secular community organizations, effectively prepare for a security emergency and respond to potential threat scenarios, including active shooters, bomb threats and cyber-attacks.
In September, ADL’s Philadelphia Regional Office, serving Eastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey and Delaware, provided security training at the Jewish Federation of Delaware, which is located at one of the Jewish Community Centers that received a bomb threat earlier this week. The training included best practices for responding to bomb threats, which the staff implemented as trained.
Seth J. Katzen, Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish Federation of Delaware told us, “The Delaware Jewish community appreciates its ongoing relationship and partnership with the ADL who provide an invaluable resource. We have benefitted immensely from their annual security training sessions as well as collaborative educational programming opportunities. Knowing we have their unwavering support and immediate availability in times of need and distress ensures confidence in our community as well as peace of mind. We Are Stronger TOGETHER.”
Each ADL office works with institutions within its region to customize a program that best addresses their needs. Last year, ADL’s Houston Office conducted a security seminar for six Muslim schools which included a meet-and-greet with police officers and segment on cyber bullying. ADL New England conducted a communal security presentation for representatives from Sikh gurdwaras (temples) on steps that all religious institutions can take to help keep their communities safe, and highlighted the importance of building relationships with law enforcement.
After the Pulse nightclub attack, ADL’s Mountain States Office partnered with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado and the GLBT Community Center of Colorado to provide security training for LBGTQ organizations and individuals in the Metro-Denver area. ADL staff co-presented with Matthew Shepard Foundation staff on understanding and preventing hate crimes. In New York City, ADL’s New York Regional Office presented at a standing room only security event, “Stepping Up our Game: Protecting Schools and Institutions in a More Dangerous World,” hosted by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York and attended by over 200 participants representing synagogues, schools, Jewish Community Centers and community institutions. ADL provided a piece on creating a culture of security, emphasizing that the security planning process must involve every member of an institution, and that everyone – from leaders to congregants – must become active members of their institution’s security policies.
Meanwhile, at ADL offices across the country, the experts at our Center on Extremism continue to track, monitor and report on extremist threats, providing up-to-the-minute information about hate crimes, extremist groups and terrorism to religious and community organizations — and to our partners in law enforcement.