Federation invites the community to Town Halls with new Houston Jewish Security Director – Jewish Herald-Voice

Posted By on September 8, 2022

Jewish Federation of Greater Houston CEO Renee Wizig-Barrios believes Houstons Jewish community is at a pivotal point when it comes to security.

We feel it is impossible to have a fully thriving Jewish community if people feel unsafe, Wizig-Barrios told the JHV. We want to help create an environment where we increase safety, security and preparedness.

Earlier this summer thanks to a generous gift from Stanford, of blessed memory, and Joan Alexander the Federation took those first steps by launching the first-ever Houston Jewish Community Security Program and hiring Al Tribble Jr., as Houston Jewish communitys first security director.

Now, the Federation would like to hear the security needs from the community.

The Federation will host two Town Halls Tuesday, Sept. 20, at the West Houston Jewish Community Center and Wednesday, Sept. 21, at The Emery/Weiner School, both at 7 p.m. The meetings will include information on the security program and a Q&A with Tribble and Secure Community Network regional director Dave Humble.

Our Jewish community has always cared about security, and our synagogues, agencies and schools have done their best to create a secure environment for worship, education, socialization and Jewish life, Wizig-Barrios said.

But now, we have this great opportunity to have an organized network and full process that can bring the entire community together around security.

We want to take into account all the different needs of the community whether you are big, small, in The Woodlands, Pearland, Meyerland or elsewhere. This is something that will bring the entire community together.

There are approximately 50 brick-and-mortar Jewish institutions in the Greater Houston area and more than 100 Jewish programs and organizations. Based on its 2016 Demographic Study, the Federation estimates there are 64,000 Jews living in the area, which covers Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties.

Wizig-Barrios said over the next several months, there will be communication with area clergy, heads of schools, executive directors at synagogues, religious school leaders, area leaders and the community at large to assess the needs.

At the center of that will be Tribble, a 27-year FBI agent, recently retired, who has been working in Houston for nearly three decades. Tribble will be employed by SCN (Secure Community Network), but work in and for the Houston Jewish community through the Federation. He will be the primary point of contact for Jewish organizations as he advises on safety assessments and improvements, trainings, and as necessary, provide law enforcement liaison duties.

Tribbles law enforcement experience has been diverse. He has worked to combat human trafficking, as well as violent crimes against children. He was a FBI S.W.A.T. team sniper, a hostage negotiator, special agent recruiter, media spokesperson and he worked on counter-terrorism investigations.

For the past 20 years, Tribble has specialized in civil rights, which included police misconduct and hate crimes investigations with bias-motivated criminal offenses as his concentration.

The cases Ive worked in the area of civil rights were some of the most important investigations that really molded me in wanting to protect and serve, especially focusing on people who were particularly targeted because of their religion or race, Tribble told the JHV.

Those things are innate and to be targeted because of those things is particularly heinous, and I take great pride and delight in working those investigations and bringing folks to justice.

They always say, See something, say something. I believe it needs to go one step further. You see something, you say something, you do something. And, when you do something, I think we have maximized our ability to keep ourselves safe.

Upon retiring from the FBI in 2018, Tribble began working as a training specialist with ADLs Education Division in Houston. He also served as an ADL board member and is a board member of Holocaust Museum Houston.

Tribble believes the new Jewish security directors role fits his skill set perfectly.

The work here is very important, and it is extremely focused. It narrows your scope, and the tools are just about the same for investigating and being proactive, he said.

A lot of the work I did with the bureau was reactive. A lot of the work we will do here in the Jewish community will be proactive, and thats what excites me.

I can be proactive and really help with security, but if something does happen, Im really good at being reactive so we can jump in and respond and take care of the threat.

Tribble sees himself as a liaison, harnessing great relationships with local law enforcement throughout the Houston area, which is helpful to have before you need them in a time of crisis.

His goal is to build community awareness about safety, but not have overshadowing fear.

I want everyone to go about their daily life, not curtailing your religious freedoms and traditions, but carry them on and carry them out knowing you have someone looking out for what you are trying to do, and that is practice your religion freely, Tribble said.

Because the Houston Federations security program is powered by SCN, it will have access to SCNs national security advisors, intelligence analysts and other professionals, in addition to benefiting from SCNs National Jewish Security Operations Command Center in Chicago.

We are excited about how the coordinated efforts can really take it to the next level for our Jewish community, Wizig-Barrios said. I think it is going to be so powerful to have a much more concrete idea on how to increase security and how to get there.

In addition to the Alexanders generous gift, the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston is one of the first recipients of the Jewish Federations of North American LiveSecure Grant Program. The Federation recently learned it will receive $100,000 to help enhance the Houston program.

We really think this is an exciting and important moment for the community, Wizig-Barrios said. Im really grateful to Joan and Stanford Alexander, of blessed memory, for giving us the initial grant that has allowed us to start the community security program.

Hopefully, this will be an incredibly befitting legacy for Stanford in the way he and Joan have always supported our Jewish community.

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Everyone is invited to the Town Halls, but are asked to register in advance at houstonjewish.org/security.

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Federation invites the community to Town Halls with new Houston Jewish Security Director - Jewish Herald-Voice

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