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Jeff Co Homeland Security held annual luncheon

By Staff | Feb 6, 2015

Jefferson County Homeland Security and Emergency Management, a department of the Jefferson County Commission, held its annual partnership meeting last Friday, to reflect on the work of the last year, and discuss future projects.

“We really need to focus on where we’re going tomorrow,” director, Barbara Miller said.

Miller began Friday’s meeting by discussing the group’s partners and accomplishments in 2014.

“Our partners are from all levels of government,” she said.

“Additionally some of our partners are everyday citizens., she said.

“Over 134 different people have attended our various meetings overs the past year and over 150 have attend training sessions, exercises and special events.”

“I want to reiterate that we will continue to have plenty of people, both foreign and domestic, who want to cause harm to Americans. We will see additional attacks on our country. We will see additional natural hazards and we will continue to see accidents that are caused by human error,” she said.

“When faced with emergencies and disasters people do what they’ve been trained to do.”

This year’s luncheon presenter Thom Kirk, director of West Virginia Intelligence Fusion Center, discussed the underreported role fusion centers play in Homeland Security activities.

Located in the state’s capital, Kirk said the fusion center works as a ‘platform’ serving the needs of various entities, who work together for the protection of citizens.

“If one organization can only go so far… They have the ability to turn their chair and talk to someone,” he said.

Essentially the fusion center works a liaison for the ongoing distribution of information and intelligence amongst various agencies.

The WV Fusion Center connects the FBI, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, regional jails, and local law enforcement agencies for example.

“Most information develops on a state level and on a local level,” Kirk said.

“If fusion centers had been in place, 9/11 would have never happened.”

Kirk said that as part of the work of department’s like Jefferson County Homeland Security, local citizens should be vigilant in reporting any suspicious behavior they see.

“You never know,” he said.

All information provided to the fusion centers is evaluated, investigated, passed along if necessary or disregarded if found erroneous.

To report something contact to WV Fusion Center, call 1-866-WATCH.

Find more information about the Jefferson County Homeland Security and Emergency Management department by visiting their web site at: www.jeffersoncountywv.org/government/departments/homeland-security-and-emergency-management-2.html