• FBI, faith leaders come together for security training following Pittsburgh shooting

    By: Rikki Klaus


    ATLANTA - The FBI has teamed up with local leaders of faith in hopes of saving lives. It's all about your security while worshipping.

    The collaboration follows the mass slayings at a synagogue in Pittsburgh last month.

    The organizer said the attendees represented every major religious faith – Muslim, Christian, Hindu and Jewish -- but they all came together in Atlanta to learn one thing: how to keep their congregations safe.

    The people in the room represented hundreds of houses of worship. Faith leaders met with law enforcement officials at congregation Shearith Israel on Sunday afternoon. The FBI shared the latest information and intelligence about threats to houses of worship. At the forefront of people’s minds: active shooter situations.

    “There’s no more important topic on my mind right now than this,” said Rev. Markel Hutchins, who is part of the One Cop Initiative that organized the training in northeast Atlanta.


     “I hope and pray that nothing that these people learn, will they ever have to use,” he said.

    He says the goal is to empower everyone to go back to their congregations, create teams and prepare plans that could save worshipers’ lives.

    “It is critically important for people to know how to protect themselves, to be situationally aware, and I’m just fortunate that we were able to bring law enforcement and the faith community together in such a dynamic way,” Hutchins said.

    Jodi Salomon, the executive director at the temple, said she’s proud of the collaboration.

    ‘I’m thankful that we are coming together. That we’re speaking dialogues with each other community to community and hopefully, we will figure out a way to banish the evil that currently exists in our society.”

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