Saturday, January 26, 2013

Misaskim Hosts NYPD School Security Conference

On Wednesday, January 23rd, Misaskim hosted an NYPD conference for yeshivah and Bais Yaakov
school principles and administrators at the Hod V’Hadar hall in Boro Park. The meeting was called by
NYPD’s Brooklyn Borough South Assistant Chief Thomas Chan in light of the tragic school shooting
in Newton, Connecticut. The objective of the conference was to formulate a preparedness plan for
our schools in the event of a shooting emergency. In attendance were members of the local law-
enforcement community, New York City Councilman David Greenfield and other community leaders.

In his welcoming statement, Rabbi Yanky Meyer of Misaskim told school administrators that while
we are all tempted to rationalize that an incident similar to the one in Connecticut is unlikely to occur
here, it is our responsibility to our children to take the steps to address this issue. He recalled that last
summer there were two incidents that involved police officers and Shomrim members pursuing bank
robbers in the streets of our community. In one of these incidents, the perpetrator was armed. How
would school officials react should such a perpetrator decide to take shelter in a school?

Councilman Greenfield began his remarks by praising the police department and Chief Chan for being
in tune with the needs of our community. He also welcomed Chief Peter Brower of the Ramapo Police
Department. Chief Chan, in turn, thanked Misaskim for its dedication in coordinating this event.

Councilman Greenfield stressed that the community in Newton had all the security measures in place
in their school building and certainly were not concerned about an attack. “In our case it’s the exact
opposite,” Greenfield said. “If you ask any expert, they will tell you that we actually are targets.” He
went on to explain that security involves surveillance, security guards, and our bussing system, among
other important items. He assured everyone that his office is doing its utmost to assist schools in
obtaining the resources they need to implement proper security measures.

Chief Chan pointed out that statistics show that most active shooting situations occur at educational
facilities. He said that while each school is different, each yeshiva is different, and each facility is
different, it is up to school administrators to formulate a security plan that is appropriate for their
situation. He urged schools to screen all visitors to their school buildings and share their evacuation plan
with parents to lessen confusion during an emergency. He then introduced the NYPD’s Shield Program.
This presentation outlined the appropriate actions school personnel need to take in the event of an

David Pollack of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) presented school administrators with an
emergency planning program that schools can easily adapt and implement to fit their needs. The JCRC
has created many emergency planning resources for organizations and is available to guide schools and
other organizations in formulating an effective plan.

The conference concluded with pertinent tips from Inspector Philip Van Gostein, the NYPD Patrol
Borough Brooklyn South Counter-Terrorism Coordinator. He reminded the audience that the conference
was only the first step toward securing our schools. He urged administrators to reach out and meet the
school sergeants and security officers who were present at the conference to discuss all security related questions.

Ramapo Police Chief Peter Brower told the audience that he found the conference very informative. He
explained that the community in Rockland County, although not as densely populated as Brooklyn, faces
similar challenges. He praised the school supervisor in his district, who is very sensitive to the schools’
needs. Chief Brower said that a large majority of students in the East Ramapo district attend parochial
schools and his department is in the process of working out security preparedness for them. He was
grateful for being invited to the conference so he could see first-hand how it was being done on a larger

{NewYorkBuffMedia Newsroom}

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