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Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester looks to improve safety and security

Aug 28, 2019

The Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester is taking steps to add a layer of security for various facilities throughout the region.

Earlier this week, when Brighton Police Chief Mark Henderson announced his retirement, he said he was moving over to the federation as its first Community Director of Security.

The CEO for the Jewish Federation, Meredith Dragon, says there are a number of other Jewish communities around the country that have already created similar positions.

She says that with the rise of anti-Semitism locally and nationally, the federation in Rochester wants to make sure it is prepared.

“What we don’t hear about are all the things that don’t happen and all the attempts and things that are thwarted and having this position will make sure that the Jewish community is able to stay in close touch with law enforcement and make sure that we’re keeping our community safe.” Dragon says a survey of the local Jewish community that the federation has been involved with shows that about 75% of the teens surveyed have seen some kind of anti-Semitic incident in school.

Mark Henderson
Credit Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester

Dragon says Henderson's role will include working with law enforcement, and helping the federation organize security training. But she says they don't want to make their houses of worship and other locations unfriendly to people who use those facilities.

“We don’t create fortresses. We’re not interested in that. What we are interested in creating is a group of people who understand what they need to look out for, that they’re well trained and that our agencies and institutions are applying modern safety technology to daily lives,” Dragon said.

Dragon said that eventually, Henderson will also help provide security services to other Jewish community groups throughout Western New York as part of a national group, called the Secure Community Network.