FBI Invites Jewish Federation onto Community Engagement Council

As part of an ongoing effort to engage and educate communities across the country, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is expanding its Community Engagement Councils (CEC) and The Jewish Federation and Jewish Foundation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee is now a part of that effort. Adam Bronstone, Director of Planning and Israel Partnerships for The Federation, will represent the local Jewish community on the council. “I am excited about the experience,” he says, “But most important, is the fact that they wanted to include us and to deepen the relationship with us.” The Council meets regularly and includes representatives from across the state. Doug Korneski, FBI Special Agent in Charge in the Memphis Field Office, says, “The Council helps improve the lines of communication between the FBI and the community. It is an opportunity to share what is going on in law enforcement and what we are concerned about.” 

Violent crime in Nashville and the surrounding area is a major concern for the FBI. According to Korneski, the 2020 Violent Crime Report (the most recent data available), puts Nashville at number 41 nationally. Also of concern are hate crimes and other civil rights crimes, cybersecurity issues, and elder targeted crimes. Korneski says the CEC is an important tool in helping to root out vulnerabilities in the local communities. “The CEC is an advisory group for me. They let me know the concerns of their communities.” The Council also provides an opportunity for education. For example, Korneski says, it is important for people to know exactly what constitutes a hate crime. “I can clear up any misperceptions and about what constitutes a crime or a hate crime. The Council then can use their personal networks to help spread the word.” And most important, he says, is that if people become aware of a potential crime, regardless of type, they should report it. Adam Bronstone says that’s where the CEC can be particularly useful. “It’s important for the community so if there is an issue, you know who to call, and you’re not intimidated or afraid to make the call.” 

In addition to Adam Bronstone from The Jewish Federation, the CEC has members from other faith groups, HBCUs, and other multicultural groups. Bronstone says the diversity of the group is also its strength, “The whole community will benefit long-term. We’ll be able to share ideas with the other groups and learn how we can help each other.” In fact, says Bronstone, The Jewish Federation was not historically involved at this level with the FBI, but the rise in antisemitism in recent years has made it more important than ever to build that relationship.  “After Pittsburgh, they wanted to build a stronger relationship with our agency and others in the Jewish community.” And Eric Stillman, CEO of The Jewish Federation says Bronstone’s inclusion on the CEC shows a higher level of visibility by the Jewish community. “It’s wonderful for our community to have a seat at the table. It is a great recognition on the part of law enforcement that our Federation is a strong representative of our larger Jewish community.” 


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