Derek Slap


Derek Slap



July 28, 2021

Senators Anwar, Slap Joins Governor Lamont, Other Elected Officials To Welcome Security Grants For Houses Of Worship

Today, State Senators Saud Anwar (D-South Windsor) and Derek Slap (D-West Hartford) joined Governor Lamont, State Representative Bobby Gibson (D-Bloomfield), West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor, Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Commissioner James Rovella, faith leaders and advocates at B’nai Tikvoh-Sholom synagogue in Bloomfield to announce the first round of grants awarded through the Non-Profit Security Grant Program.

The Non-Profit Security Grant Program (NSGP) was approved by Public Act 20-01; on Wednesday, the state announced $3.8 million in grants to 97 eligible non-profits in the first round of grant funding, including houses of worship, to help fortify themselves against hate crimes and other violent acts. Groups eligible for the grants are organizations at heightened risk of being the target of a terrorist attack, hate crime or violent act. The program has $5 million in total potential funding that can be awarded to cover expenses associated with installing security infrastructure improvements.

According to FBI statistics, Connecticut saw 76 hate crimes reported in 2019, the most recent year in which data has been compiled. Of those hate crimes, 48 were directed against an individual’s race, ethnicity or ancestry, and 16 involved a person’s religion.

The Anti-Defamation League reported 128 hate crimes statewide in 2020, a sharp increase from 65 in 2019. In 2020, there were 106 reported instances of white supremacist propaganda, 21 anti-Semitic incidents, an extremist murder and a white supremacist event, according to the ADL.

“It is unfortunate, but understandable, that many people do not feel safe when they go to their synagogue, mosque or church. This program will help not only make people feel safer, it will make them safer,” said Sen. Slap. I’m heartened that this initiative has been bipartisan and when we first proposed it the governor’s office was immediately supportive. Since then, they have displayed great leadership in processing the applications and getting the program moving. The need is great, so we included additional money in the bond bill we just passed. The bottom line: no one should have to be fearful when they worship.”

“No one should ever have to be in a state of fear when they are part of a religious community or in their place of worship,” said Sen. Anwar. “We have seen a steady rise in bigotry and hate within our society and the entire country as well as Connecticut. I am thankful for the Governor and his team, and my fellow legislators, for their uniting to ensure appropriate protections will be provided in places of worship for all communities who have felt vulnerable and threatened by voices of hate at this time. I hope as a society that we will come to a point where we do not need these investments, but until then, let’s make sure we protect each and every place.”

After an act of arson at a mosque in New Haven and a threat to burn down an Islamic center in Greater Hartford, with surge in anti-Semitic attacks across America coinciding in spring 2019, Sen. Slap and Sen. Anwar proposed and have continually pressed for additional state funding for security improvements at houses of worship. The legislators will continue to seek additional funding for further protection through programs like this.

The grant program allows eligible non-profit organizations to increase protection of facilities, staff, and visitors, while receiving assistance in covering expenses incurred between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2023 to improve security. Non-profits selected will receive a grant up to $50,000.

Under NSGP, eligible security infrastructure improvements include:

  • Installing surveillance cameras
  • Solid core doors
  • Computer-controlled electronic locks entry door buzzer systems
  • Panic alarms
  • Real time interoperable communications and multimedia sharing infrastructure
  • Ballistic glass
  • Double door access
  • Scan card systems 
  • Penetration-restraint vestibules
  • Metal detectors

Non-profits applying for the grant program were required to provide a security assessment of their property and the organizations selected were based on a displayed need for security improvements.