Training Course Outlines Red-Flag Signs
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Published with permission from the Cleveland Jewish News
By Ed Wittenberg, CJN Staff Reporter
If a man walks into a building wearing improper attire, such as heavy clothing during the summer, that may indicate he should be watched closely.
That’s an example of what people who took a training course, titled “Site Protection Through Observational Techniques,” were asked to look for Feb. 3 at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s Mandel Building in Beachwood.
About 40 people – a mix of area synagogue administrators, law enforcement personnel, school officials and employees of other Jewish agencies – participated in the one-day, eight-hour course.
The instructors were Larry Cunningham and Doyle Manke of the Academy of Counter-Terrorist Education at Louisiana State University’s National Center for Biomedical Research and Training in Baton Rouge, La.
“This type of training is geared for people who have responsibility in security,” said Cunningham, who served as lead instructor. “The most important goal is to create awareness among diverse groups concerned with security. The next level is to help them refine their plans and their training to make it understandable, effective and usable for all concerned.”
Jim Hartnett, director of security for the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, said the Federation co-hosted the course with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which paid for the training and course materials. He said it’s very timely considering the recent terrorist activity and anti-Semitism in Paris.
“We’ve had many requests from synagogues and other Jewish agencies to help them with emergency preparedness,” he said. “It's about building more capacity in the community to stay safe, by giving them the tools through this training with law enforcement professionals. “We’re responsible for our community. You have to have an air of caution.”
The afternoon segment of the course consisted of a four-hour train-the-trainer supplement.
“People can go back to their schools or synagogues and train their staff,” Hartnett said. “It’s just empowering the community; that’s the message.”
The instructors showed videos of “suspicious” people to the class and offered tips on what to look for.
“We’re looking for things that will tell us they’re doing something wrong,” Manke said. “The key is to connect the dots. Individually, they may mean nothing, but collectively, they may mean something.”
It’s important to evaluate the suspect’s physical and emotional characteristics from a distance, Manke said. Those include clothing, mannerisms, demeanor, associations and contents.
“Look for anything weird and out of the ordinary,” he said.
If one sees something suspicious, one should contact local law enforcement immediately, Manke said.
Cunningham said the NCBRT does training all over the country in a number of disciplines.
“We give about 15 to 20 deliveries a year nationwide,” he said. “Much of it is responder, but some of it is management and some is biological for medical personnel.”
Mark Dowd, director of community security for the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, was among those who took part in the training.