Security Guidelines for Houses of Worship

These guidelines were developed to coordinate and enhance information sharing practices between NJOHSP, partner agencies at all levels of government, and faith‐based communities in an effort to identify and mitigate security concerns for houses of worship in New Jersey.

Phase One: Establish an appropriate security strategy at each house of worship

  • Identify two (2) security coordinators at each house of worship.
  • Coordinate intelligence briefings as appropriate.
  • Conduct building site assessments to identify gaps and vulnerabilities.
  • Train security coordinators to identify suspicious behavior and implement protective measures.
  • Disseminate posters/flyers to the houses of worship/congregation.
  • Communicate with county/local law enforcement communities.

Phase Two: Implementing the strategy and future actions

  • Assessments: Perform vulnerability assessments to identify gaps.
  • Trainings: Develop and implement emergency response plans in conjunction with local Offices of Emergency Management to exercise responding to a variety of scenarios, such as active shooter incidents, Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), or natural disasters. All exercise activity should be coordinated with the appropriate entities, including local police departments, emergency response agencies, and county authorities.
  • Briefings: Intelligence briefings will be coordinated by NJOHSP and partner agencies to inform faith‐based communities of current events that may impact them.
  • Security: Faith-based communities should meet with their security coordinators at least once a year to coordinate the security plan, review current events, and hold meetings with local law enforcement and first responders to continue to build trusted partnerships, maintain open communication, share information, and develop cultural awareness training. 
  • Public Awareness: Promote the “See Something, Say Something” public awareness campaign through the delivery and display of posters and other campaign materials available to community members in a variety of languages.
  • School Outreach: NJOHSP recognizes the importance of youth involvement in faith‐ based communities. As such, the community is encouraged to work with local school district superintendents to ensure educational information about each faith’s culture is included in each school district’s Social Studies Core Curriculum Content Standard (6.3), Active Citizenship in the 21st Century, as required by the New Jersey Department of Education. NJOHSP supports continuing law enforcement career days and also provides school security briefings and facility assessments at schools.
  • Grants: Although there are limited grants available to enhance building security, NJOHSP will provide assistance to identify available state/federal funds to houses of worship requesting financial assistance.