Home field advantage

As community populations increase, agencies find creative ways to stretch budgets without compromising safety and security on the homefront


     "Our main focus is to protect the health and safety of our employees and the public. We ask DHS to intensify intelligence gathering and provide us with timely information. Any unusual event is treated as a potential threat until it is resolved," Jacques adds.

     The FPL corporate security communicates regularly about security issues with agencies such as the FBI, Secret Service and Joint Terrorism Task Force, according to Jacques. In fact, the plant has complied with the recent industry-wide security mandates from the NRC.

     These measures include extending and fortifying security perimeters; increased security patrol; installing new barriers to protect against vehicle bombs; and installing additional high-tech surveillance equipment.

State-of-the-art training

     Scheduled for completion in 2008, the Indian River Community College (IRCC) Treasure Coast Public Safety Training Complex will serve as a state and national model for training public safety personnel.

     It is the only training facility in the nation to house a crime lab and medical examiner's office. The state-of-the-art observation area will enable students to observe DNA and ballistic testing and sophisticated forensics operations.

     IRCC's associate dean, Stephen Huntsberger, says there is already enough international interest to bring in students to the facility from around the world for training and he is working with the Department of State to further develop plans.

     "It was apparent from the design of this project that the complex had to address our area's growing population, as well as incorporate sophisticated technology to address homeland security issues into our intense training program," Huntsberger says.

     Combining criminal justice, fire science, and forensics in one place will enable IRCC to train 1,200 law enforcement and corrections officers, firefighters, EMTs, paralegals and social services professionals every year — three times as many as can be currently trained.

     The complex will also include six buildings on a 50-acre site and have realistic training props such as an airplane fuselage, railroad car, buildings, shoot house, traffic intersections and a controlled burn area.

     An emergency management program will be available for students and will include anti-terrorism training and U.S. security; disaster management; critical infrastructure; logistics; health services; full-scale preparedness; and response exercises. The cost for this facility is $35 million with funding from state appropriation, matching public grants, corporate sponsorships and individual gifts.

A safe, secure future

     Implementing technology and safety measures in St. Lucie County is a proactive measure for law enforcement professionals to take in order to brace for their next population surge.

     A progressive plan and forward thinking ensures the continued safety and hometown security for citizens of today and allows time to prepare for the needs of the St. Lucie County residents in the future.

     Linda Spagnoli is a well-known law enforcement advocate in the areas of communication, child safety, officer safety and sex-offender tracking. Her focus is on interagency data-sharing, emergency communications and media relations. She began her career assisting school resource officers install the D.A.R.E. program in Long Island, New York, schools. Spagnoli maintains her position as director of communications for Code Amber.

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