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Boca Raton police, religious leaders meet in the name of safety

Posted at 5:19 PM, Jan 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-17 19:29:16-05

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Boca Raton religious leaders got together with police for a safety meeting Thursday afternoon.

“If they can give us any tips to keep our congregation safe, we are interested,” said Vinny Nava with Boca Raton Community Church.

Nava is head of security and is a former Boca Raton police officer. He said he recognizes the need to have these conversations.

“In my 30-year law enforcement career we didn’t have these meetings; 10 years ago we wouldn't be doing this interview,” he said.

Perry Birman with the Chabad of East Boca said he wants to learn how to keep their community secure and safe.

“We want to learn how to recognize threats, defend against threats, protocols,” he said.

Boca Raton police said they want to make sure the community knows they are having these conversations with different community leaders.

“Discussion-based training where people can ask questions and address security concerns,” said Boca Raton Police Department spokesperson Jessica Desir.

About two dozen people attended the meeting with police. Gregory Panos says he has been working with police to help make St. Paul Lutheran safer.

“It is an assessment that has to be done if you are going to truly make a church a place of sanctuary, and sanctuary means that it is safe,” said Panos.