Places of worship, police stepping up security measures after California synagogue attack
POWAY, Calif. (FOX 5 DC) - Police departments across the area - in Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. - are promising to step up efforts to protect local houses of worship.
This comes in the wake of a deadly shooting at a California synagogue.
Houses of worship in Fairfax say security is an ongoing priority. Congregation Beth Emeth in Herndon just launched a significant security upgrade.
"We talk about it often among our board and among our security task force and we've taken a lot of measures to make sure that this structure is hardened and safe for congregants to worship, go to school, and for staff," said Congregation Beth Emeth Executive Director Melissa Heifetz.
Congregation Beth Emeth's new security upgrades were designed and installed by GovSource - which is a security and defense contractor.
The ARS system stands for Active Shooter Response, and it's designed to keep an attacker out, and to create multiple places inside the building to rapidly and directly alert police in the event of an ective shooter attack.
Police in Fairfax County have increased patrols and visibility at houses of worship in the wake of the California attack, and the attack in Pittsburgh six months ago - but it's part of a four-year effort to reach out to church, synagogues, and mosques in Fairfax County to partner with them to fortify their houses of worship.
"We can suit our response to serve them best. We did message with our community immediately our support to our houses of worship and believe they know they have our support and likewise we have theirs," Fairfax County Police Second Lieutenant John Lieb said.
In D.C., police say they are increasing security in the wake of a California attack.
Montgomery County just awarded $200,000 in grants to help synagogues, churches, and mosques boost their security defenses as well.