Federation hires army veteran to direct community security

Tim Brooks, military veteran and former Bethlehem police officer, will set up and launch a new program to protect those in synagogues, camps and other Jewish community sites.

The Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley, along with the Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg and the Secure Community Network (SCN), the official security organization for the Jewish community in North America, have hired military and police veteran Tim Brooks to the newly created position of regional security advisor.

Brooks, a veteran of the U.S. Army, Pennsylvania National Guard and Bethlehem Police Department, will launch and direct a security program that will cover the Jewish communities in the Lehigh Valley and Greater Harrisburg. The program is designed to increase safety and security for all who participate in synagogues, day schools, camps, service organizations and other centers of Jewish life across the region.

“The Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley is pleased to be in partnership with SCN and formally welcome Brooks to our team,” said Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley Executive Director Jeri Zimmerman. “As America faces dramatic increases in antisemitic threats and incidents, Jewish communal security has never been more important. Tim has extensive experience and knowledge of safety and security issues, making him an enormous asset to our community.”

Brooks will launch and oversee SCN’s partnered security program with the two Federations. The program is based on an “all threats, all hazards” approach to preparedness, safety, security and resiliency. It is connected to SCN’s national operations, providing direct access to its National Jewish Security Operations Command Center and Duty Desk as well as to best-practice security resources and support related to policies, procedures, physical security, facility assessments, training and incident response.

The joint security initiative is being made possible through professional support from the Federations and SCN; funding through the collaborative efforts of local Federation donors and community partner organizations; and national donor support from LiveSecure, the historic partnership between the SCN and the umbrella organization Jewish Federations of North America to fund and create a collective security framework for every Jewish community across the continent.

Julie Platt, chair of the Jewish Federations of North America, said, “In our journey to ensure that every Jewish community has the strong security initiative necessary for flourishing Jewish life, we’re thrilled to see that Lehigh Valley and Harrisburg are taking steps to grow their security programs. I look forward to working with the communities to raise the necessary matching funds as we continue on our journey to secure the Jewish community.”

Brooks comes to the initiative with over 35 years of experience in the military and in law enforcement. He began his military career as an enlisted soldier in the 402nd Military Police Company and went on to hold positions such as commander and battle captain for base operations in Afghanistan, and deputy support operations officer in Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has received numerous military awards, including the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star Medal. He is currently chief of the Joint Staff, Joint Forces Headquarters, for the Pennsylvania National Guard.  

He also spent 20 years as a civilian police officer with the Bethlehem Police Department before retiring in 2014.

“It is an honor for me to work with SCN and use my experience to contribute to the safety and security of all the Jewish communities under my jurisdiction,” he said. “I look forward to this partnership and building a strong security program here and helping these Jewish communities thrive.”