(Originally sent to all community and faith leaders.)
Here are some of the latest resources that are being produced across the United States Department of Homeland Security. Our partners in the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) have developed a few great resources that I wanted you to have as soon as possible.
The Power of Hello Guide for Houses of Worship. This resource was created to promote employee vigilance for our industry partners tailored to houses of worship. It empowers all personnel to observe and evaluate suspicious behaviors, mitigate potential risk, and obtain help when necessary.
Protecting Patrons During the Holiday Shopping Season fact sheet. This resource was created to help shopping venue owners and operators better understand challenges that shopping venues face meeting COVID-19 regulations and protocols as they enter the holiday season. Although there are no current credible or imminent threats, shopping venues should consider re-assessing security practices to ensure the most effective procedures are in place. This is particularly important during the holiday shopping season when an increased number of patrons is commonly the occurrence.
The Houses of Worship Self-Assessment Tool This tool is designed to guide personnel at houses of worship through a security-focused self-assessment to understand potential vulnerabilities and identify options for consideration in mitigating those vulnerabilities. This self-assessment is a first step in building an effective security program; it is not intended to be an in-depth security assessment. After completing this process and addressing preliminary findings, houses of worship personnel may consider pursuing more detailed security assessments to explore specific issues in greater detail. Houses of worship can use the results of this process in many ways as they partner to improve their security and manage risk. These efforts include prioritizing potential security measures, reviewing best practices and available resources, and developing investment justifications for internal budgeting processes or external grant requests.
Mitigating Attacks on Houses of Worship Security Guide and Fact Sheet This security guide analyzed ten years of targeted attacks on houses of worship to provide context to enterprise-wide security recommendations. The case studies reviewed are examples of the breadth of threats a house of worship faces daily. From physical attacks such as active shooter incidents, arsons, or bombings to less visible cyberattacks, a house of worship should be vigilant in its security practices.
CISA provides access to a multitude of resources in support of risk mitigation; these resources help decision-makers implement cost-effective security measures to protect people and property. The products are available via the CISA Hometown Security website: cisa.gov/hometown-security and on the new CISA Power of Hello website cisa.gov/employee-vigilance-power-hello as well as the Faith Based Organizations – Houses of Worship website – cisa.gov/faith-based-organizations-houses-worship.
Additionally, Acting Secretary Chad Wolf released two press statements that are significant to our faith and community partners. For quick access I have provided the links below.
Finally, I want to personally thank each of you for your perseverance in leading your communities through this COVID-19 crisis. Across the country, the power of the faith community is as evident now as it has ever been. Faith leaders do not wait for government to serve, they step in and meet needs where they are and when they are needed most. From operating soup kitchens to creating impromptu shelters for those who have nowhere else to turn, you are there on the frontlines serving others and we are eternally grateful for your partnership.
On behalf of the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative, thank you for all you do in service to others.
Kevin Smith, CEM
DHS Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives
A Center of the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative
Executive Order on the Establishment of a White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative
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