The change will allow Jewish Community Security Inc. to perform security for a broader range of organizations, Gary Sikorski says.
The Jewish Federation of Metro Detroit has spun off its security program, leading to the creation of a standalone organization, Jewish Community Security Inc. (JCSI). Launched 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 it could no longer be a department of the Federation,” says David Kurzmann, senior director, community affairs for the Federation. “The community-wide security program of the Federation has continued to evolve and grow to take care of the needs of the community. This is the next step.”
The Federation’s recommendation to split out the security function led to the establishment of JCSI, a group made up of 12 employees, including Sikorski, with Federation its primary stakeholder. “You’ll see even more collaboration,” Kurzmann says.
While the largely internal changes will bring the security for Jewish community entities under one roof, it won’t 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 perform security for a broader range of organizations, he says, explaining that previously it could only provide security for Federation agencies or Federation events. Now licensed by Michigan’s Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), it can provide services to Federation agencies, community agencies and more. “We’re not hanging out a shingle to generate business with other nonprofits, houses of worship or synagogues, though we could in the future,” Sikorski says.
The security program, which still has offices at Federation’s building in Bloomfield Township, has grown from one person in 2006 to three in 2009, eight in 2013, then to 12 and soon to be 15, he says. “Just by virtue of personnel, equipment and 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 requests for training from synagogues and agencies, and stay active in responding to requests for consultation, security assessment and grant assistance, Sikorski adds.
“We have been and will continue to always be a resource for the entire Jewish community,” Sikorski says. “We still work side by side with all of our Federation and community partners.”
Cleveland’s Federation has done something similar and helped provide a model for the security element’s separation and JCSI’s establishment, Sikorski adds. “Cleveland was very helpful and very gracious in providing us assistance in navigating this transition,” he says, adding that other Federations are also looking at having security operations stand alone. That said, JCSI will be the central address for security, supported by the Federation.
“They’re still very much involved,” he says. “We are a part of delivering those services to the Federation and to Federation agencies.”
JCSI is also continuing to work closely with law enforcement partners, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Secure Community Network (SCN) and community groups, especially given the rise of antisemitism and hate crimes, Sikorski says.
“We’re very much engaged. We’re keeping a finger on the pulse of the community and potential threats to the community,” he says.
“The safety and security of the Detroit Jewish community is our primary concern.”