Cook County Participates in Multi-Faith Crisis Leadership Workshop

Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Executive Director Michael Masters joined leaders from around the country to participate in Multi-Faith Crisis Management Workshop in Boston today.

Masters was invited to participate as part of his role on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Faith-Based Security and Communications Advisory Committee and in light of Cook County’s advancement of efforts to counter targeted violence and address violent extremism. The DHSEM developed the county’s Interfaith Security Advisory Council as well as training programs for law enforcement and community leaders on recognizing and identifying violent extremism and responding to active violence.

The workshop was organized by the DHS Office of Infrastructure Protection in coordination with Massachusetts General Hospital. Leaders from various faith-based communities and response organizations will have an opportunity to discuss, examine and refine security plans, policies, and best practices. The goal is to enhance information sharing due to the evolving threat environment with respect to houses of worship and other faith-based institutions.

“Every day, in too many communities, we see the impacts of violence, from individuals being inspired to travel overseas to those who walk into our schools and our houses of worship, with an intent to cause death and destruction. The events of last week in Charleston remind us of the hate that continues to live in our world which we must confront it together, as a whole community,”said Masters. “My goal is to bring the lessons I learn in Boston back to Cook County to further enhance the security and resiliency of our community.”

The exercise is designed to:

  • Promote the development of collaborative partnerships among faith-based organizations and local, state, and federal response agencies.
Identify and validate current challenges and strengths ininformation sharing capabilities, procedures, and processes among faith-based organizations, and local, state, and federal response agencies. Discuss any threat warning systems and/or alert processes that faith-based organizations have in place. Identify existing threats to, hazards for, and/or vulnerabilities of faith-based organizations and their local communities. Discuss risk mitigation strategies to increase the resiliency of faith-based organizations and the local communities. Share best practices and lessons learned among faith-based communities that increase security and resilience.

For more information, media may contact Natalia Derevyanny at natalia.derevyanny@cookcountyil.gov or 312.603.8286.