The oldest synagogue in Huntington on Wednesday boosted its security with the installation of a smartphone-based system that automatically calls 911 when one of the panic buttons is activated.
The Huntington Jewish Center was not among scores of Jewish institutions across the United States that have received bomb threats in recent months, and the house of worship had not faced any threats in “many years,” said Arthur Perler, a congregant who chairs the committee that secured the funding for the project.
The synagogue, located on Park Avenue, received a $75,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, money the federal government set aside to help nonprofit groups safeguard their facilities.
“It’s just simply the availability of the grant money, and our knowledge that we needed some improvements on our security system,” Perler said. “We just went for it. It turns out to be a timely decision because as we’re doing it now there is an uptick in anti-Semitic attacks or threat of attacks against Jewish centers.”
A Massapequa-based video-surveillance company, IntraLogic Solutions, began setting up the security system, which includes on-site technology, panic buttons, cameras inside and outside the facility, controls to lock the doors, and strobe lights, said Lee Mandel, the company’s chief executive. He said it typically takes six to 10 weeks to complete the installation.
“They’ll be up and running within the next two months,” Mandel said.
When a panic button is pressed, Mandel said the security system automatically locks the doors, flashes the strobe lights, dials 911, and plays a prerecorded announcement over the public address system.
IntraLogic Solutions has a full-time grant writer to help groups like the Huntington Jewish Center apply for taxpayer-funded money, which Mandel said comes mostly from the federal government. So far, Mandel said his firm has helped at least 20 school districts and five religious organizations on Long Island obtain grants to pay for IntraLogic Solutions’ security systems.
“The funds are out there,” Mandel said. “It’s just knowing how to acquire them.”
IntraLogic Solutions’ security systems are installed in about 2,000 facilities across Long Island, most of them in public schools, Mandel said. Of the company’s 150 clients on Long Island, 84 are school districts, he said. The remainder are private schools, religious organizations, government agencies and hospitals.
It’s not known how many cameras or panic buttons are planned for the Huntington Jewish Center because Perler did not want to disclose the information. But, an average high school that uses IntraLogic Solutions’ system has about 75 cameras inside the classrooms and outside the school, Mandel said.
“Cameras are used on a daily basis in the schools all the time — whether it’s fights, bullying situations, thefts or vandalism,” Mandel said.
In addition to installing the hardware, IntraLogic Solutions also offers monitoring services, costing $350 a month per facility on average. He said 18 Long Island school districts have hired IntraLogic Solutions to surveil their facilities when classes are not in session.