Critical Pre-Pesach Security Briefing Held for Rockland County Community Leaders

Critical Pre-Pesach Security Briefing Held for Rockland County Community Leaders

by M.C. Millman

Rockland's Community Security Initiative spearheaded the annual pre-Pesach security briefing, which over one hundred Rockland County community leaders attended last night. 

"We're grateful for the incredible work law enforcement does in Rockland County to keep the entire community safe,"  Ethan Erlich, the regional security director of CSI, shares with Rockland Daily. "Since October 7th, antisemitic incidents in the NY area are up 78%. In a report released this week, the Anti-Defamation League reports that in 2023, the number of reported antisemitic incidents increased by 140% across the US. This is a grim picture. Over 900 synagogues received bomb threats in 2023. Since October 7th, 142 bomb threats have been made to synagogues in the CSI area of responsibility.”

The briefing was held at Yeshiva of Spring Valley on College Road on Tuesday evening, April 16. Attendees included Ramapo Town Supervisor Micheal Specht, Ramapo Police Department Chief Martin Reilly, Rockland County Sheriff Louis Falco, FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force Special Agent Michael Andretta, and  Director of Rockland Security Initiative Ethan Erlich.

“What can our community do to be more prepared?” Erlich asked during the event. “Establish close ties with local law enforcement. Inform law enforcement immediately about suspicious activity. Coordinate with law enforcement and local volunteer groups if planning a large or public event such as burning chometz. Invite law enforcement into your school or shul or summer camp. If there is an emergency at your institution, you want law enforcement to already have a good point of contact, and to know the layout of your building.

 “Now is not the time to let our guard down. Before a tragedy happens, we urge our institutions to develop policies and procedures for potential emergencies, including bomb threats and active threat scenarios. Work with law enforcement and CSI to make sure that your policies are in line with current best practice. Train leadership, staff, teachers, and congregants for what their role should be in case of emergency at your shul or synagogue. Conduct drills to work out the details of your emergency procedures. Control access into schools and synagogues. Assume that we won’t know when and where an attack might happen, but we can control who comes into our schools and synagogues.”

The briefing was held in coordination with the Rockland County Police Chiefs Association, Rockland County Sheriff's Office, Rockland County District Attorney Office, New York State Police CTIU, and FBI-JTTF. 

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