Thirty representatives of Houston-area Jewish institutions attended ADL’s 2013 High Holy Days Security Seminar hosted by United Orthodox Synagogues and featuring Houston Police Sergeant Brad Rudolph and Harris County Sheriff’s Office Captain Paul Cordova.
The seminar began with a comprehensive presentation by Sgt. Rudolph on recognizing impending threats by assessing situations and behaviors. Sgt. Rudolph showed how numerous violent crimes could have been prevented by proper assessment of threats and helped participants understand how they could recognize actions and behaviors that could lead to a dangerous crime or incident.
ADL board member and Sheriff’s Office Communications Director Alan Bernstein then showed participants how to use the Sheriff’s Office’s iWatch App, which allows citizens to report suspicious activity anonymously and encourages stopping a threat before it starts.
He then introduced Captain Cordova, whose presentation focused on the specific challenges of the High Holy Days, including larger-than-usual crowds, abundant traffic, and the distractions that come along with those challenges. He also summarized important aspects of emergency plans for institutions and evacuation of those institutions when necessary.
Participants in the seminar received a sample safety announcement that they could use at the beginning or services or include in printed programs during the High Holy Days, and a just-released FEMA guide to Developing High-Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Faith Institutions.