FBI Seminar on “Protecting Houses of Worship”

By Philip Deitch – FBISTLCAAA life member

Congregations of all faith have been facing growing security concerns. There is no longer a single faith or type of spiritual community that can consider itself immune whether in urban or rural areas.

The FBI St. Louis office offered a free seminar on “Protecting Houses of Worship’” on January 26, 2019.  More than 50 people from congregations as far as Cape Girardeau came out on a snowy, bitter, cold Saturday morning to learn how they can better protect their congregations and their congregants.  In the process, they created a supportive community among representatives from diverse faiths to include the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian communities.   The host location was the New Northside Conference Center, 5939 Goodfellow Boulevard, in the City of St Louis.  The FBISTLCAAA provided continental breakfast and refreshments. About ten FBISTLCAAA members came to volunteer and/or to learn themselves.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard Quinn welcomed and thanked the attendees and put the importance of the day into stark perspective.  FBI special agents gave an overview on hate crimes, active shooter behavioral analysis, and what to do in an active shooter situation. Also, on the program, a Jewish Federation security expert who provides evaluations and trainings to all Jewish congregations and Jewish communal organizations.  He self-identified as a Christian underlying the point that all spiritual congregations should be taking preventive action.  Our own FBISTLCAAA President Gary Chan provided tips on cyber security.  Rounding out the 3-hour seminar, a sergeant with SLMPD’s Crisis Intervention Team talked about the mental health resources available and how it provides such training to police officers.

Additional Resources
fbi.gov/resources (active shooter studies)
dhs.gov (how to prepare your business for an emergency, bomb threat checklist)
adl.org/security (DHS, FBI and broader material)

Red Cross Informational Sessions

The St. Louis office of the American Red Cross is hosting informational sessions on being a volunteer for their organization. These sessions will run once a month from February through December in 2019. These Red Cross volunteer activities are separate from FBISTLCAAA activities, but we are exploring partnerships with them. If there are joint activities in the future, we will advertise them as such.

If you would like more information on this topic, please Contact Us.

Additional information from the Red Cross

Learn the impact the American Red Cross volunteers have on the local community and how you can help:

  • Provide shelter, food and comfort following a home fire, tornado, flood or other disaster
  • Save lives by installing smoke alarms
  • Provide support at local blood drives which keep our nation’s blood supply stable
  • Provide support to our military and their families
  • Learn about the menu of volunteer opportunities and ways you can give back to your community

Holiday Happy Hour

On Dec 12, 2018, the FBISTLCAAA held its annual Holiday Happy Hour for FBI Citizens Academy graduates. During the informal gathering, FBI St. Louis and FBISTLCAAA signed the 2019 Memorandum of Agreement.

Special Agent in Charge Richard Quinn spoke about the accomplishments of the St. Louis Division and the challenges it faces, his appreciation for the FBISTLCAAA, and ideas on how the association can partner with the FBI to help improve the community. FBISTLCAAA President Gary Chan also shared the organization’s accomplishments in 2018 and painted a picture for what 2019 could be.

November Chapter Relations Webinar

On Nov 15, 2018, Steve Tarani presented a webinar on Your Most Powerful Weapon: How to Use Your Mind to Stay Safe. Steve is a professional educator, author, and keynote speaker who has served the United States defense, law enforcement, and intelligence communities for over 25 years. He taught members how to build mental toughness, control our environment, avoid a threat, defeat an attack, and control fear.

Peabody Elementary

On October 27, 2018, the FBI and FBISTLCAAA participated in a block party at Peabody Elementary in St. Louis. Thanks to generous donations from our members, we were able to serve almost 500 slices of free pizza to students and their families. The FBI passed out activity books to kids and information about the FBI Child ID App to parents. The block party included a bounce house, DJ, community services and food to bring the neighborhood and school together.

The school held the block party to build on the positive momentum gained after the FBI Safe Streets Gang Task Force dismantled a drug-trafficking ring which operated in the Clinton-Peabody housing complex.  Read more at STL Today.

Fall Range Day

The FBISTLCAAA held a Fall Range Day on Sunday, October 21, 2018. It couldn’t have been a more perfect day with excellent weather and good company.

The firearms instructors helped new and experienced shooters get better. Members shot skeet and trap outside as well as pistol indoors.

The gun club awarded two 1-year free memberships, one to the best indoor shooter and one to the best outdoor shooter. The FBISTLCAAA awarded a $100 cash prize to the best overall shooter as well as Life Lapel pins to new Life Members.

All proceeds from this event will be contributed to the amount raised for the 2018 LDA Memorial Golf Tournament, which benefits the FBIAA Memorial College Fund for children of deceased agents, Missouri Special Olympics, Backstoppers, and other charities.

Tour of FBI HQ and Academy

The annual Citizens Academy trip to FBI Headquarters and FBI Academy took place on September 26 – 27, 2018.  Graduates also visited the Pentagon and the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial.  This year’s trip was held jointly with fellow graduates from FBI Chicago’s Citizens Academy.  A total of 36 people attended.  The tours were free, but travel, meals, and lodging were at each attendee’s own expense.  The overall mood was excitement, amazement, and awe as all were simply honored that the FBI would invest so much time into us and the tour.  There was plenty of conversation and laughter and times of solemn introspect during various parts of the tours when there were stories of lives lost in the line of duty.  The “FBI Experience” exhibit at Headquarters was a highlight as many expressed what they observed.

37th Annual LDA Memorial Golf Tournament

The 37th annual LDA Memorial Golf Tournament, in memory of FBI St. Louis SWAT Agent Doug Abram, was held on September 7, 2018, at the Norman K. Probstein Golf Course in Forest Park.  The rain held off during the first few hours of the tournament, but Tropical Storm Gordon took over, making the last few holes tough.

After the round of golf, attendees sat down to a fantastic dinner and discussion with new and old friends.  A special thank you to St. Johns Bank, World Wide Technology, and members who donated. Our chapter offered its highest support in years.  The FBISTLCAAA is responsible for $1,100 in registration fees and the following donations: $3,000 in cash, 2 gun club gift certificates, a golf outing certificate, a PGA golf ball, 6 Cardinals box seats with parking passes, and any amount raised from the upcoming Fall Range Day event.

National Leadership Conference

FBISTLCAAA members attended the annual FBI National CAAA conference Sep 5-7, in San Antonio, Texas.  Attendees networked with counterparts and learned about the remarkable work that CAAA chapters are engaged in across the country.  The FBI presented  the Las Vegas shooting investigation and a public corruption investigation in the Washington, D.C. area.  Our Chapter donated a basket of St. Louis BBQ goodies for a silent auction.  Overall, the conference helped build relationships and provided everyone with new ideas to create value for chapter members and their communities. Next year’s conference will be held in Houston, Texas.