With over 23 years of experience as a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent, including 17 years on a Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), JewishColumbus’ Security Director, Stephen Flowers, brings a wealth of expertise in counterterrorism and law enforcement liaison to his role, and he’s helping partner organizations prepare for the worst case scenarios.
Flowers’s extensive background in the FBI, particularly in the field of counterterrorism, makes him a natural fit for the position of Security Director at JewishColumbus. Throughout his career, Flowers actively engaged in outreach to at-risk minority communities and gained invaluable insights into combating external threats. When he retired from the Bureau in September 2020, Flowers remained open to the possibility of returning to work, provided the right opportunity presented itself.
Now settling into his role, Flowers has outlined his goals for the position, including helping partner organizations and summer camps. Drawing from his experience in the public sector, one of Flowers’s objectives is to gain a deeper understanding of nonprofit culture to effectively leverage his specialized expertise for the benefit of JewishColumbus.
Flowers’s dedication to helping communities targeted by violent extremists led him to pursue this niche career path. His passion for ensuring the safety and security of vulnerable communities is a driving force behind his commitment to JewishColumbus.
“We want these trainings to lead to questions and discussions because that’s how we learn and grow,” Flowers emphasized. “Engaging in active shooter drills prompts self-reflection and ensures we are prepared to face potential threats as a united and resilient community.”
In his capacity as Security Director, Flowers has already conducted comprehensive trainings with several partner organizations. To date, he has collaborated with 11 partners, including synagogues, JCC staff, JFS, and camp staff. The trainings encompassed various age groups, including college-age camp counselors, senior camp staff and administrators, totaling approximately 30 to 40 individuals.
The camp staff training focused on adapting active shooter response strategies to outdoor environments. Emphasizing the “run, hide, fight” model derived from federal resources, Flowers addressed the unique challenges and considerations faced in camping settings. The training highlighted the importance of knowing one’s surroundings, including specific outdoor areas, and provided strategies for hiding, seeking cover, and maintaining mobility. Additionally, the sessions underscored the need for camp staff to be responsible for the children under their care during emergencies.
Flowers’s passion for teaching about active shooter drills stems from recognizing the foundational importance of these preparedness measures. By implementing active shooter training, the objective is to mitigate potential threats, enhance facility security, and empower individuals to take responsibility for their own safety. The training also instills a sense of order, even in times of chaos and panic, and equips participants with essential skills for crisis situations.
JewishColumbus, under the guidance of Stephen Flowers, aims to provide open sessions on active shooter drills during the high holidays. These sessions will be available to partners and the wider community, fostering important discussions and self-examination.
For more information about JewishColumbus and its security initiatives, please visit www.jewishcolumbus.org or email Justin Shaw at email@example.com.