ST. LOUIS – Fears of being attacked at our places of worship are being answered in powerful ways.
Two of the biggest names in local law enforcement are answering the call in wake of the October Israel terror attacks: Former St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch and Scott Biondo, Director of Security for the Jewish Federation of St. Louis.
Neither are Jewish, but both feel it’s their mission to quell the increasing threats to the Jewish community.
“I owe it to the community,” Fitch told FOX 2, adding “I’ve already talked to two individuals that attended some protests and had some issues at some of the protests. How can you stay safe at a protest?”
Fitch says he volunteers his consulting time. It’s free. He said, “With everything that is going on now, I thought it was time to say, if you need any advice, law enforcement or security advice, I’m certainly here to help as I do for a Catholic organization I belong to as well.”
The Jewish Federation of St. Louis welcomes him. Security Director Biondo said, “I think it’s awesome when we can have folks that care enough about the community that they’re willing to offer suggestions and help. Certainly, because I know Tim, we can also work together on some things.”
He says he too is called for this job. “I despise the concept of anti-Semitism,” he said adding, “I just can’t get my mind around it – why one particular group of people is targeted the way the Jewish community is, and I don’t want to be one of those people who’s standing around not doing something about it.”
Biondo added, “We run a very heavy intelligence lead security program, so we’re continuously working with our law enforcement partners at the national, state, local level to insure the safety of the community.”
Using 16 different police jurisdictions as secondary security just for the St. Louis region’s synagogues, schools and social service agencies.
Biondo said, “365 days of the year this community plans and prepares for the active attack.”
Former Chief Fitch believes his awareness enhanced when he visited Israel about a decade ago. He said, “The Anti-Defamation League asked me to go to Israel for a week when I was the police chief and I did that – along with 15 other police chiefs, just to see what the environment was.”
He added, “I think that’s beneficial to bring that back here because what’s going on there, they deal with that every day. Here we deal with that on a smaller basis, but it’s still happening.”