Security at Temple Beth El has always been a concern. Recent events clearly bring home the message, that yes...this can happen here. Clearly there is no way to absolutely prevent these episodes, but we should do the best we can to protect ourselves, while continuing our efforts to make our community warm and welcoming. We also need to be cognizant that so many of these enhancements do carry real cost, which is an increasing challenge to all of us.
About a year ago, Federation sponsored a visit to our community by James McGuiness of Global Impact. Mr. McGuiness walked through our building, and gave us many recommendations to enhance our security at Temple Beth El.
During this time, Federation has also been working on federal and state grants to assist us in this venture.
A new slogan evolving is, "Our doors are locked, but our hearts are open." As outlined above, there are real issues to face in enhancing our security...including more practical issues such as how to modify our building while preserving its design.
Projects we have been working on have included:
- We have explored various wired and wireless security camera systems, and ultimately do have proposals for installing a wireless security system, monitoring the building and its entrances. This has also been funded by a donor, and we should be moving on this shortly.
- We are also exploring a doorbell system so that we can lock the doors during events and either a buzzer will go off, or cell phones will be contacted, so we do not have to leave the doors unlocked during events such as services, dinners, school events, and celebrations.
- We are arranging shortly, through the efforts of Allen Mackler, to have a system of radios connecting directly with the police department, and a system of walkie-talkies so that our staff can communicate with each other rapidly.
- At least temporarily we are arranging for police officers to be outside our building during many of our religious services and gatherings.
- The Springfield Police have assigned special patrols to monitor our building. They are also coming to our building to do a walk-through and make additional recommendations.
- We have a written policy and procedure manual.
- We do have a system of silent panic buttons, both at fixed locations and worn by key personnel.
There are many other options for enhancing our security. None are perfect, and all have costs.
Ultimately, we all share this responsibility. If you see something that does not look right, report it right away. If you have ideas, please share them.
The Board of Trustees of Temple Beth El