Thomasson: Security matters to us all

Like many of you, I was deeply troubled by the attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh last year.

Anna Thomasson

My faith and worship community are deeply important to me and I had a hard time processing the horror of such an attack.

Earlier this year I attended the Paradise Valley Police Department Houses of Worship Forum sponsored by our own ACOPS committee.

Six of our 14 houses of worship were represented and three shared information about their security processes while one described their full-fledged security ministry.

Then in April, I attended the statewide First Annual School Safety Conference focusing on active shooter threats, learning there are numerous actions that can reduce the probability of a threat and lessen the impact of an incident at a school or church.

While our Paradise Valley Police Department has a quick response time to all 9-1-1 calls, often in active threat situations, the event is over prior to the arrival of law enforcement.

The former director of the U.S. Secret Service said the key to reducing the impact of those first minutes was: Prepare, Plan and Practice.

Our Paradise Valley Police Department has done a great job letting us all know about the security review services available to our residents and houses of worship. Additionally, our ACOPS committee (ably led by Councilmember Pace and now Councilmember Andeen) is reinforcing their efforts through community outreach.

As your new and passionate councilmember, I wanted to add one more voice to the choir: Please talk to your worship community leaders and take us up on our offer to conduct both a facility security review as well as an audit of your security processes.

You can reach officer Steven McGhee at 480-948-7418 or smcghee@paradisevalleyaz.gov.

Editor’s Note: Anna Thomasson is a Paradise Valley resident and member of Town Council.

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