Scottsdale police removed a “suspicious” individual from the Valley of the Sun JCC’s premises on Saturday, May 11.
The individual in question was allegedly displaying “suspicious” behavior in the parking lot of the campus. JCC security director, Jimmy Wasson, said that the man was making frequent trips back and forth from the trunk of his car to the entrance of the JCC. After a search by police and JCC security, no weapons were found. The individual was identified by Scottsdale police and was removed from JCC premises.
Just a few hours before arriving at the Valley of the Sun JCC, the man had been lingering around Ahavas Torah and Makor Synagogue. In an email from Ahavas Torah, the individual was described as “well behaved and cooperative with shul staff and law enforcement when asked to leave.”
Police followed up with the man later at his place of residence. He was not arrested.
Afterward, Wasson alerted several synagogues and Jewish organizations to the disturbance through a new notification system. He was grateful that the notification system performed as it did.
“This is the first time we really used it and it worked very well,” Wasson said. “There were a few glitches, but overall it worked great. This system is from the company MIR3, and it allows us to do mass notifications to multiple organizations simultaneously.”
MIR3 is a subsidiary of the software company, OnSolve, which specializes in emergency mass communication. OnSolve brands itself as “...the market leader in cloud-based notification and collaboration tools capable of delivering critical notifications and alerts for any type of event.”
MIR3’s Critical Alerting and Incident Response Software not only provides mass notifications, but also allows recipients to respond. These responses can be requests for more information, or they can serve as a means to provide more information.
Since the incident on May 11, Wasson has been receiving more requests from different organizations and synagogues to be on the notification list. Wasson believes that in emergency situations it is critical to safety to keep everyone informed.
“We have a lot of Jewish organizations and synagogues in the system, but we’d really like to get more organizations in the system, because it would be more effective if more people were involved.”
To Wasson, the more information shared during an emergency, the safer everyone is.
Wasson added that any synagogues or organizations that wish to receive notifications in case of any emergency should contact him directly.
The Scottsdale Police Department has an office inside the Valley of the Sun JCC, and after the incident on Saturday, May 11, there was an increase in patrol officers in the area.
“We have a good relationship with the department, so when this happened the District 4 commander called me,” Wasson said. “There were a bunch of officers doing their paperwork around the city and he told them to do their paperwork here, so they came over and close patrolled the center.” JN