Federation Homeland Security Leader Joins Other Experts at White House to Address Community Safety March 1, 2013
As efforts around the country intensify to combat violence in schools, Secure Community Network (SCN) National Director Paul Goldenberg joined other security leaders at the White House this week to examine security preparedness and emergency management plans. SCN is the national homeland security initiative of The Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
The Feb 27 event, “Taking Action: Creating Model Emergency Management Plans for Schools, Institutions of Higher Education, and Houses of Worship,” included more than 100 leaders from the faith, education, law enforcement, emergency management and mental health communities, as well as survivors of gun violence. Participants offered feedback to inform work by the Administration to create model emergency management plans for schools, institutions of higher education and houses of worship, and provide best practices for student and staff training.
“Through important efforts such as this week’s stakeholder gathering at the White House, we have the opportunity to continue to create models to promote community awareness, link communities to government when planning for natural and man-made disasters, expand existing public-private partnerships that mobilize communities to increase homeland security, and rapidly deploy the best practices, programs and exercises for establishing a common set of standards and practices,” said Goldenberg.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano moderated two of the three panels during the event, addressing the emergency management needs of schools, institutions of higher education and houses of worship. These interactive discussions, which included leading experts in their respective fields, focused on lessons learned from previous mass shootings and what should be included in the Administration’s future model plans. FBI Executive Assistant Director Richard McFeely moderated a third panel discussion.
Other featured speakers included Marleen Wong, associate dean, clinical professor, and the director of field education at the University of Southern California School of Social Work; Major Ian A. Moffett of the Miami Police Department and vice president of the National Association of School Safety and Law Enforcement Officials; Gene Deisinger, deputy chief of police and director of threat management services at Virginia Tech; and Natalie Hammond, a teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The event was one of the 23 executive actions to reduce gun violence announced by President Obama on January 16, in the aftermath of the deadly shooting that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Since the Sandy Hook tragedy, SCN has taken a leadership role in providing information and trainings addressing security and safety concerns in schools and Jewish institutions. Early in January, SCN held several webinars addressing national school safety and security, in which hundreds of community members participated.
“SCN will continue to work closely with the Department of Homeland Security and other state and local agencies, and with communities and faith-based groups nationally, to ensure the community remains vigilant and prepared to deter and thwart potential threats,” said Goldenberg.