When Tragedy Struck, Jewish Atlanta was Ready
Less than an hour and a half after the tragic synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, Federation’s Director of Community-Wide Security (CWS) Director, Cathal J. Lucy, was on the phone consulting with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners about stepped up protocols and intelligence gathering to protect the Jewish community. At the same time, Federation’s communications team sent out an email alert to reassure the wider community that heightened measures were being coordinated and put into place. It all happened smoothly because of our community’s commitment to emergency action planning, communication, security education and relationship building with our law enforcement contacts. Federation demonstrated leadership and was able to respond nimbly because years ago we had the vision to be the first Jewish community in North America to engage a full-time Director of Community-Wide Security.
In Atlanta, Federation has a 100+ member Federation Security Committee (FSC) that coordinates security protocols and provides continuing security education throughout the community. In addition, the CWS program works along with the Secure Community Network (SCN) of Jewish Federations of North America. SCN was established in 2004 as the first national non-profit organization exclusively dedicated to homeland security initiatives on behalf of the American Jewish community. It continuously monitors security through a 24-hour duty desk that links Jewish institutions and communities across the United States. FSC members can receive and send out specific emergency and security information to their organizations and use the “SCN Alert” app — it issues SMS text, email and phone messages to ensure that the right people are immediately informed and the correct actions are taken to keep us safe.
In the week after Pittsburgh, Atlanta held 29 vigils, each with a heightened security stance. Federation convened an FSC/community meeting at The Davis Academy with 70+ attendees and law enforcement representatives. At the meeting, Eric Robbins described how the CWS program conducted security consultation calls and worked with local police, the FBI, GEMA and the GBI to address community safety. Many thanks to Cathal J. Lucy, our Director of Community-Wide Security for leading us through this challenging time. Cathal is a retired Supervisory Special Agent who spent 25 years in the Secret Service, serving on the Presidential Detail, protecting Presidents Clinton and Bush. Reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about the CWS program and the SCN Alert, and how your organization can strengthen its security protocols.