NACo President Sallie Clark hosted a national symposium in El Paso County, Colo., focusing on the county role in strengthening safety and security in communities across the country. Approximately 200 officials from counties nationwide attended the event Dec. 2-4 as part of her presidential initiative, Safe and Secure Counties.
“In communities nationwide, there are countless examples of how counties deliver programs that keep our residents safe, mitigate damage and prepare for future disasters,” said Clark. “We are working with public and private partners to strengthen safety and improve the quality of life for millions of people across the country.”
County leaders participated in educational sessions and presentations featuring:
- Dr. Ajita Atreya, Research Fellow, Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa.
- Dr. Randall Hyer, assistant director of the Center for Risk Communication.
- Mike Jones, Director of Implementation, Pretrial Justice Institute, Littleton, Colo.
- Kathleen Koch, founder and director of LeadersLink and an award-winning journalist who covered for CNN the White House, Pentagon and Capitol Hill as well as several disasters including 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina
- Hon. Mark H. Luttrell Jr., Mayor, Shelby County, Tenn.
- Cherryl Ramirez, Executive Director, Association of Oregon Community Mental Health Programs, Salem, Ore.
- Matthew Travis, senior facilitator and program manager at FEMA’s National Exercise Division, and
- Roy E. Wright, deputy associate administrator for insurance and mitigation at FEMA
Highlights of the symposium included mobile workshops:
- McCullough Water Treatment Plant and U.S. Air Force Academy
- Waldo Canyon Fire and Flood Mitigation
- Peterson Air Force Space Command, and
- El Paso County Justice Systems.
Educational sessions focused on disaster response and preparedness, cybersecurity, criminal justice reform, mental health and public safety, risk management and crisis communications. Attendees also participated in a hands-on FEMA tabletop exercise that guided county leaders to enhance counties’ emergency response and management.