The Federation security program is now an autonomous organization
The change will allow Jewish Community Security Inc. to provide security for a wider range of organizations, says Gary Sikorski.
Jhe Jewish Federation of Metro Detroit spun off its security program, leading to the creation of an autonomous organization, Jewish Community Security Inc. (JCSI). Launched on March 1, JCSI is led by Gary Sikorski, who continues in his role as Director of Community-Wide Security.
“The program had grown to the point that it could no longer be a department of the Federation,” says David Kurzmann, Senior Director, Community Affairs for the Federation. “The Federation’s community safety program has continued to evolve and grow to meet the needs of the community. This is the next step.
The Federation’s recommendation to split the security function led to the creation of JCSI, a group of 12 employees, including Sikorski, with the Federation as the primary stakeholder. “You’ll see even more collaboration,” says Kurzmann.
While the largely internal changes will bring security for Jewish community entities under one roof, it will not affect how security is administered in the community, Sikorski says. “Other than our logo on our shirts and our email addresses, it’s business as usual,” he explains.
The change will allow JCSI to provide security for a wider range of organizations, he said, explaining that previously it could only provide security for Federation agencies or Federation events. Now licensed by Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), it can provide services to Federation agencies, community agencies and more. “We’re not going to go out a shingle to generate business with other nonprofits, houses of worship, or synagogues, although we may in the future,” Sikorski says.
The security program, which still has offices in the Federation Building in Bloomfield Township, grew from one person in 2006 to three in 2009, eight in 2013, then to 12 and soon to be 15, he says. “Just because of the personnel, the equipment and the areas of responsibility, it made sense to do this,” he says. “It allows us to be more responsive to community needs.”
They still respond to training requests from synagogues and agencies, and remain active in responding to requests for counselling, safety assessments and financial assistance, Sikorski adds.
“We have been and will continue to be a resource for the entire Jewish community,” says Sikorski. “We always work side by side with all of our Federation and community partners.”
The Cleveland Federation did something similar and helped provide a model for separating the security element and establishing JCSI, Sikorski adds. “Cleveland has been very helpful and very kind in helping us navigate this transition,” he says, adding that other federations are also considering having stand-alone security operations. That said, JCSI will be the central address for security, supported by the Federation.
“They are always very involved,” he says. “We are involved in providing these services to the Federation and Federation agencies.”
JCSI also continues to work closely with its law enforcement partners, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Secure Community Network (SCN), and community groups, especially given the rise in anti-Semitism and hate crimes, Sikorski said.
“We are very committed. We keep a finger on the pulse of the community and potential threats to the community,” he says.
“The safety and security of Detroit’s Jewish community is our primary concern.”