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Palm Beach synagogues, churches discuss need for security with police

Posted at 5:03 AM, Nov 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-06 05:03:15-05

Security is a top priority in today's world at schools, businesses, government buildings and especially places of worship after a fatal shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh at the end of October.

“We pray that these events should never occur anywhere," said Rabbi Moshe Scheiner of Palm Beach Synagogue. "Especially after the tragedy in Pittsburgh, there’s an awareness, an awakening and a coming together of Jews and even non-Jews to take extra measures.”

Faith leaders from Palm Beach met with police Monday morning to talk about how to keep their members safe while they practice their respective religions.

“No one would think that in 2018, Jews in a synagogue in Pittsburgh would be shot and murdered cold-bloodedly," Scheiner said.

Palm Beach police are offering places of worship a direct-connect alarm system that goes straight to the department and available off-duty officers during religious services and walk-through security assessments.

"(It allows us to) see where we can create natural surveillance, defensible space, access control," said Michael Ogrodnick, of Palm Beach Police. "How can we make it a harder target?”

Palm Beach Synagogue already has security cameras, panic buttons and armed guards to protect people while they pray, but Scheiner said he's working with police to identify additional safety measures.

"We are taught that we must defend ourselves and protect ourselves, but we hope and pray that we never need these preventive measures," Scheiner said.