URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — The Champaign Police Department is putting more officers near worship centers after a Jewish temple was vandalized last Friday.
Lorenzo Kindle is the director of security at Stone Creek Church in Urbana. He said they have relied on safety measures for a decade and encourages other houses of worship to do the same. He also said his prior background in consulting and previous situations were key factors.
“I would say absolutely yes, and mainly because people don’t always come with the best intentions,” Kindle said. “We had several incidents that happened within a service and with our young people that prompted us to really look to have a permanent team in place.”
Champaign Police officials said several incidents, including vandalism at Sinai Temple on Nov. 3, prompted them to assign additional resources to houses of worship just days before police arrested Dominic Koca for vandalism and racial hate crimes at St. Mary’s Cemetery and Mattis Park. An anti-defamation league report shows anti-Semitic incidents have gone up 388% since 2022 and continue to rise since the Israeli-Palestinian war began.
“It’s very discouraging that has forced some of the members even to watch the online services,” Kindle said.
Kindle said he’s fortunate Stone Creek hasn’t had extreme circumstances like ones across the nation and feels having the right team protecting people is important.
“We have first responders in the service,” Kindle said. “I always know that we have some other officers probably present in the services. And just with adequate training I feel that we’re able to handle most of the situations that might pop up.”