The Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus has hired a full-time director of security on behalf of its tenants.
The decision is the culmination of two months of research by layleaders and staff, said Jonathan Hoffer, chair of the Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center and an officer on the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix board.
James Wasson starts as the campus’s director of security on Jan. 23. He worked for the Scottsdale Police Department from 1990 to 2016: 10 years as a police officer, six years as a police sergeant and from 2006 to 2016, as a police lieutenant. Before joining the Scottsdale Police Department, he worked as a police officer for the New York Police Department for four years.
In 2004, the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations launched an initiative to establish a nonprofit organization dedicated to homeland security initiatives on behalf of the American Jewish community. This nonprofit, the Secure Community Network (SCN), connects Jewish communities across the U.S. to local law enforcement and the highest levels of the federal government.
Last month, representatives from SCN consulted with local leaders for two days, as well as with campus staff and representatives of the Department of Homeland Security and the Scottsdale Police Department, and recommended hiring a dedicated security professional.
Wasson will work with all the tenants on the campus, which includes several Jewish organizations and agencies, as well as a day school. He will also work with local law enforcement.
Although last week 16 local Jewish community centers around the country received bomb threats, this hiring is not in response to those recent threats, Hoffer said. “It was an appropriate response to the last couple months of research and time and effort and the world we live in.”