Law Enforcement Veteran Scott Kerns to Direct and Develop Expanded Community Security Program for Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and Its Agencies
The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia today announced the launch of an expanded community security initiative, in partnership with the Secure Community Network (SCN), the official safety and security organization for the Jewish community in North America.
The program is designed to significantly increase safety and security for all those who participate in synagogues, day schools, community centers, service organizations, and other centers of Jewish life throughout the Greater Philadelphia Region.
Public safety expert and law enforcement veteran Scott Kerns will serve as the Philadelphia community’s full-time security executive, leveraging the national resources and tools of SCN, to develop and administer a comprehensive program that provides risk mitigation, security consultations, assessments, and training to Jewish institutions throughout the region. Kerns will also serve as the Jewish community’s main liaison to local, state, and federal law enforcement in the region.
An integral part of Kerns’ work in the community will be to lead community education and awareness training through SCN’s flagship training courses such as Be Aware: Introduction to Situational Awareness; Countering Active Threat Training; and Stop the Bleed®.
“As America faces dramatic increases in antisemitic threats and incidents, Jewish communal security has never been more important,” said Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia President and CEO Michael Balaban. “Through this new partnership, we will enhance our commitment to security and ensure we are applying a comprehensive, best-practice approach. Scott’s extensive experience makes him a tremendous asset for this effort.”
Philadelphia joins the growing network of Federations and communities that have partnered with SCN to launch community-wide security programs to ensure the safety, security, and resilience of the Jewish people. Each program is connected to SCN’s national operations, providing direct access to SCN’s National Jewish Security Operations Command Center and Duty Desk, as well as best practice security resources and support related to physical security, facility assessments, life-saving training, critical policies, and incident response.
The Philadelphia security program is being made possible through professional support from the Federation and SCN; funding through the collaborative efforts of the Federation and other local donors; and national donor support from SCN and LiveSecure, the partnership between The Jewish Federations of North America and SCN to fund and create a collective security framework.
“SCN strives to ensure the safety, security, and resiliency of the Jewish people by creating a security shield over the Jewish community in North America,” said SCN National Director and CEO Michael Masters. “The heart of this effort is the establishment of a comprehensive security program in each Jewish population center, led by a full-time security professional. We are honored to partner with the Federation and thrilled that in Scott we have a seasoned professional to lead the local effort.”
Prior to joining SCN, Kerns served as a special agent in the New York and Philadelphia Divisions of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from 1998 to 2022. He worked a variety of programs, including White Collar Crime, Technical Operations, Organized Crime, International Terrorism, Crisis Management, and Recruiting. Among his many assignments, Kerns helped direct security efforts for major events such as the New York City Thanksgiving Day parade, New York City Marathon, New Year’s Eve in Times Square, United Nations General Assembly, Super Bowl XLVIII, and visit of Pope Francis to Philadelphia. Most recently, he served as a supervisor in the Joint Terrorism Task Force squad and the Crisis Management program in Philadelphia.
Kerns served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1992 to 1997, attaining the rank of captain. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accountancy from Villanova University and a master’s degree in telecommunications management from the Stevens Institute of Technology. Kerns has been recognized with the FBI Medal of Excellence, the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation Investigator of the Year award, and the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service.
“It’s an honor for me to continue working in Philadelphia and to contribute to the safety and security of the Jewish community,” said Kerns. “I look forward to leveraging my professional experience and community relationships to help everyone become more prepared and resilient against all forms of threat.”
The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia mobilizes financial and volunteer resources to address the communities’ most critical priorities locally, in Israel and around the world. To advance this mission, the Jewish Federation works closely with partner organizations who share their values and offer programs that sustain members of our communities, strengthen connections to Jewish life, and promote a universal responsibility for Jews. The Federation’s focus centers around the following critical themes: Serving Vulnerable Populations, Shaping our Jewish Future and Supporting Israel and World Jewry. Learn more at jewishphilly.org.
The Secure Community Network (SCN), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the official homeland safety and security organization of the Jewish community in North America. Founded in 2004 under the auspices of The Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, SCN serves as the central organization dedicated exclusively to the safety and security of the American Jewish community, working across 146 federations, 50 partner organizations, over 300 independent communities, and other partners in the public, private, nonprofit, and academic sectors. SCN is dedicated to ensuring that Jewish organizations, communities, life, and culture can not only exist safely and securely, but flourish. Learn more at securecommunitynetwork.org.