By Dmitriy Shapiro/JNS.org/Washington Jewish Week –
The recent deadly shooting in the parking lots of two Jewish facilities in Overland Park, Kan., exposed “glitches” in the Kansas City Jewish community’s security plan, according to the head of the local Jewish federation.
Todd Stettner, president and chief executive officer of the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City, said he was glad to see how competently both facilities handled the situation, quickly going on lockdown in accordance with previous training they received.
But the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City and Village Shalom senior living center were unable to quickly relay an emergency warning to everyone in their communities— similar to emergency text message and email systems used on school campuses throughout the country.
More troubling in hindsight was the lack of a planned response for the specific attack Frazier Glenn Miller allegedly carried out on April 13—a shooting in the two facilities’ parking lots.
“We practiced for one eventuality, which was a shooter coming into the building,” said Stettner, “but this shooter didn’t come into the building. It’s always hard to plan for random kind of things and we have to take a look and see what we can do better.”
The community will undergo an audit by U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) personnel and receive input on changes they should make in their security procedures. They will also receive help in developing and training to handle a wider range of emergency scenarios.
Click photo to download. Caption: The Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City, one of two local Jewish community sites targeted in the recent deadly shooting. Credit: Facebook.
Paul Goldenberg—director of the Secure Community Network, a Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) affiliate responsible for addressing security concerns in Jewish communities nationally—took part in a series of meetings between local leaders and agencies such as the FBI and Homeland Security to help answer the community’s concerns about safety and to advice on security improvements.
The 74-year-old Miller allegedly shot to death William Lewis Corporan, 69, and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, outside the JCC. He then proceeded to nearby Village Shalom, where he allegedly killed Teresa Rose Lamanno, 53, before being arrested by police.
It didn’t take long to deduce Miller’s motives, as he yelled “Heil Hitler” from inside a police car shortly after his arrest. Although first identified by his alias, Frazier Glenn Cross Jr., he was soon recognized by his real name and that he had a long history of white supremacism and anti-Semitism. None of the victims in the shooting was Jewish.
Responding to the threat