Places of worship consider more security in wake of synagogue shooting

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By: Mariel Carbone | WCTV Eyewitness News
October 30, 2018

Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue. MGN graphic using Google image.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- In the wake of Saturday's synagogue shooting, many are questioning the idea of increasing security in places of worship.

"Every time I go to temple, I've always been a little scared. It's been in the back of my mind," said Julia Banfill, an FSU student who attends Temple Israel. "Going to temple, and going to school, should be a place that we worship and feel safe. It's really sad that it's come to having to hire security to protect us."

"In house's of worship, they are in a very particular situation. You have open doors. You want visitors. But, the problem is, at the same time, you can't let our guard down," said Deputy Dean Crump, with the Leon County Sheriff's Office.

Crump is part of a team that helps provide security checks for local places of worship, along with schools and businesses. After reviewing a location, deputies make recommendations from things as small as landscaping, to creating a safety team and providing staff to monitor security cameras during services.

He also said about a half dozen places of worship already have off duty deputies on hand during services. Others have deputies on the perimeter directing traffic and patrolling the exterior of the buildings.

"We wish initially that we didn't have these types of worries, but as we see more and more everyday, we do have to worry about these things more and more. And because of that, we are stressing, as far as safety," said Crump.

"In reality, there is no place in the world that is a 100 percent safe," said Rabbi Jack Romberg, who leads Temple Israel in Tallahassee.

Temple Israel already has security cameras to monitor the building. However, he said he is dedicated to further increasing security. And, some in the congregation have already offered to help cover the costs.

"There are already many people in our synagogue, and in our community, that have stepped forward to say, we're going to help get this to a better place," he said.

Those interested in setting up security checks with the sheriff's office can call LCSO's community relations department at 850-606-3300. The service is free of charge.

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