Shul Safety Officer Program

Thank you for your interest and concern for the safety of the Jewish community in Chicago.
Participation in our Shul Safety Officer (SSO) program will provide lifesaving skills to a
community member, helping us cultivate capable and effective first responders within every
Shul.   

We do this by providing multi-level standardized training and education to our volunteers. Our
top-tier instructors from law enforcement, security, and medical fields bring the highest quality
instruction available, giving SSO’s the necessary skills to help prevent and/or triage a multi-
casualty event.

Program Background and Development

The average active shooter incident lasts 3 minutes, with an average of 12 victims per minute.
The average police response time to active shooter incidents is 3-5 minutes. This means that
whether we like it or not, congregants will always be the First Responders in active shooter
events. When seconds count, the police are only minutes away. The reality is that the only thing
that can effectively stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.


In acknowledging this reality, CCL Shul Members recognized that a concealed carry license does
not make you an effective first responder. Having untrained, unidentified congregants carrying
concealed weapons in shul is a very real and legitimate concern.


To address these concerns, CCL Shul Members developed a rigorous vetting, training, and
certification program for Shul safety team volunteers. Our Shul Safety Officer (SSO)
Certification Program is in addition to the 16-hour class and certification required by the State
of Illinois for a Concealed Carry License.


In collaboration with local Rabbis, local law enforcement agencies, the Homeland Security
Training Institute, and professional law enforcement firearms instructors, we developed the
Shul Safety Officer program. This program provides shul leadership the opportunity to
recommend volunteer applicants to be vetted for synagogue safety responsibilities. This vetting
process is overseen by a licensed independent professional background screening agency, with
the training and certification process overseen by state and nationally certified firearms training
organizations.

Program Structure

Vetting

We aid in vetting proper candidates for this rigorous volunteer program. The vetting process
includes initial and random drug screening, a comprehensive criminal background investigation,
psychological screening, personal insurance requirements, and credential verification.

Medical Training
Our medical training, taught by the top-tier military, law enforcement, and medical personnel cover
critical lifesaving skills such as Stop the Bleed Certification, CPR/AED Certification, and Tactical
Emergency Casualty Care training.

Greeter / Screener Training
Topics covered include awareness and preparedness skills, criminal and civil law, use of force by
civilians, psychology and de-escalation, soft interrogation skills, scenario-based training,
spotting hidden weapons, non-lethal defense options, and much more.

Firearms Training
We offer multi-level defensive firearms training and certifications modeled after law
enforcement training modules and taught by law enforcement firearms instructors. Upon
successfully completing the program, volunteers will have accrued more than the 40 hours of
firearms training provided to recruits at police academies in Illinois.

Advanced Training
SSOs will have opportunities to participate in additional advanced training seminars and
courses with expert instructors from law enforcement, military, and contract security
backgrounds, along with a required annual review of their credentials and renewal of their
qualifications. ​

Certification
Once a candidate passes the vetting process and successfully completes the first range session,
the candidate is conditionally accepted for the first year while earning their full certification.
The training includes 6 hours quarterly with an additional training session at the candidate’s
shul or utilizing a simulated mock-up or video simulator of the same.

Candidates who successfully achieve full certification status will have to renew it annually by
passing a firearms qualification course, drug test, background check renewal and participating
in a minimum of 16 hours of continuing education and training. Members who fail to complete
any of these components, fail their drug test or violate their no alcohol contract will have their
certification revoked until they demonstrate compliance.

First Year Shul Safety Officer Training

Full training of a Shul Safety Officer:   $900*

*Subsidized cost for qualified candidates 

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