Town Hall Style Meeting Seeks Input On Homeland Security


A town-hall style meeting in Urbana on Thursday (December 15th) will seek local input on Illinois' homeland security strategy.

It's the 2nd such meeting that the Illinois Emergency Management Agency is holding around the state, as it gathers input for a major overhaul of that strategy. The first was held in the Metro East area, and a third is scheduled for January 11th in Effingham. The IEMA is holding the meetings in conjunction with the Center for Public Safety and Justice, at the University of Illinois' Institute of Government and Public Affairs.

State Emergency Management Director Jonathon Monken says a big emphasis of their homeland security strategy has been improving communications between different state and local agencies, as well as those in the private sector. But he says they're finding out about other needs as well.

"Something that we heard in the first round was a big emphasis on training", says Monken. "People felt like there was not enough training that was readily available ... or the training that was available, wasn't targeted specifically enough for the things they felt were most important to train. So that's definitely something that we're looking at as we go forward as well."

Monken says they don't just expect to hear from local first responder agencies like police and fire departments. He says they're also looking forward to hearing from the public, and from area businesses. He says business has a big role to play in emergencies.

"The resources that can brought to bear by the private sector far exceed anything that can be brought to bear by the public sector", says Monken. "And that's a relationship we're trying to develop, to make sure that we can really bring the full resources to bear of both private sector and government to respond to the local and affected populations in a disaster."

Monken says input from the Urbana meeting and others around the state will be used in formulating a new homeland security strategy for Illinois, to be unveiled at a final summit in Springfield next September.

Thursday's meeting runs from 10 AM to 1 PM at the ILEAS Training Center --- the former Champaign County Nursing Home building --- at 1701 East Main Street in Urbana. Anyone can attend, but registration is requested. Registration can be made by calling 877-864-7427, or going to the Vision 20/20 website linked below

Story source: WILL