On October 14, 2015, The Jewish Federation’s Community Security Initiative (CSI) hosted the first installment in our new Annual Speaker Series at The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles’ Goldsmith Center. In attendance were over 60 Jewish leaders, Executive Directors, Security Directors, and Law Enforcement professionals from the greater Los Angeles area. “The purpose of our CSI Speaker Series is to bring thought leaders from the security field to our community to share their experience and best practices,” said Jason Periard, Director of Community Security.
The inaugural event featured keynote speaker Dr. Erroll G. Southers, Director of Homegrown Violent Extremism Studies at the University of Southern California (USC) Safe Communities Institute. Dr. Southers’ discussion focused on the phenomenon of Home Grown Violent Extremism (HVE) and extremism culture in the United States, and how religion, race, political ideology, and issue orientation affect the development of many HVEs. The response to Dr. Southers’ presentation was overwhelmingly positive, with many attendees asking questions concerning HVE behaviors and pre-incident indicators. Dr. Southers ended the presentation with a stark reminder: “Things don’t just happen over there; they happen here in America, by Americans.”
Special guest speaker Sergeant Steve Alegre, USC Department of Public Safety, immediately followed Dr. Southers and offered the crowd practical advice on how to react during an active shooter incident. With over 30 years of law enforcement experience, he has seen his share of shootings and is familiar with both effective and ineffective ways to respond. Sergeant Alegre related that 24% of active shooter incidents take place within school settings, 98% of which are acted out by a single male shooter. He reminded attendees, “You have three choices during an active shooter incident: run, hide, or fight.” He expressed that the key to survival is having a survival mindset: be aware of your surroundings, be prepared to act, and rehearse your actions before an incident occurs.
This event was successful in raising the overall awareness level of our Jewish leaders. Safety at schools, synagogues, and other Jewish institutions is important to CSI and, through the Speaker Series, CSI hopes to continue to educate our Jewish leaders on the ever-changing threats to the L.A. Jewish community.
Launched in 2012, our Federation’s Community Security Initiative (CSI) 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.
For more information about CSI, please contact Jason Periard at CSI@JewishLA.org.