WHITEFISH BAY -- The Jewish Community Center (JCC) in Whitefish Bay was temporarily shut down on Tuesday morning, March 7th due to a new email threat that was received overnight in the center's general email. The center later reopened for scheduled operations at 9:00 a.m.
The threat was one of several targeting Jewish community centers throughout the country on Tuesday.
It was the THIRD threat targeting the JCC in Whitefish Bay this year.
Officials at the JCC said they instituted emergency protocols -- and with guidance from law enforcement, calmly and safely evacuated the center. After he building was deemed secure, they resumed scheduled operations at 9:00 a.m.
"We delayed the start of our school day, calmly evacuated our building, and quickly confirmed the safety of our premises," said Mark Shapiro, JCC president and CEO.
"All of it is despicable," said Jay Saunders, Whitefish Bay village trustee.
Saunders said this incident underscores the importance of the board's decision during Monday's meeting. Members unanimously passed a resolution condemning these ongoing disruptions that single out the JCC.
"We, as elected representatives of the people, have a special responsibility not to stay silent in the face of hate speech, threats of violence and discrimination," said Saunders.
Whitefish Bay police continue to work with the FBI to track down the person or persons responsible for this threat, as well as the threats that were phoned in on January 31st and February 20th.
"This is a huge drain of resources. But we're going to take every one serious," said Sergeant Patrick Whitaker with the Whitefish Bay Police Department.
Despite the frustrations, JCC leaders reminded families to remain strong and not be deterred from coming back.
"Say yes to partnering to build a healthier Milwaukee. Say yes to the values that unite us and guide us. Say yes to showing up here at the JCC. Use the services of organizations that match our values. Volunteering alongside our neighbors and our friends who care like you do. Calling on your leaders to do what you do to come to the JCC and say yes," said Shapiro.
Last week, federal authorities announced that a suspect was arrested in connection to eight of the recent threats targeting Jewish institutions across the country.
Whitefish Bay police said that suspect is not behind what's happening locally.