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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 15, 2001

Governor Ryan says State Preparing for Terrorist Threats
Governor's Illinois Terrorism Task Force Formed Last Spring, Training, Planning Must Continue. Homeland Security Coordinator Named

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today briefed state and local officials on the state of Illinois' domestic preparedness, which includes a fully trained Illinois Terrorism Task Force formed by the administration last Spring. The Governor also named a state Homeland Security Coordinator to continue coordinating on domestic security issues with the White House.

"In May of 2000, I appointed the Illinois Terrorism Task Force. The purpose of this task force was to identify strengths and weaknesses in our response plans," Gov. Ryan said. "The task force has been very active and has created several response teams in every area of the state. These teams can be called upon quickly when they are needed to deal with an emergency situation."

The work of the Terrorism Task Force supplements Illinois' already strong network of emergency programs. Since it was created the task force has taken a number of steps to improve our emergency response and coordinate training at the local level:

  • In January, the first ever, statewide mutual aid system to deal with the release of hazardous materials anywhere in the state was established, with more than 60 special response teams

  • Formed three teams to coordinate the state's on-site emergency response in Northern, Central and Southern Illinois.

  • Created three mobile medical response units to cover all areas of the state composed of doctors, nurses and other medical personnel to assist local health authorities in dealing with large-scale emergencies.

  • Illinois is one of ten states with a completely trained National Guard Civil Support Team, based in Bartonville, capable of responding to nuclear, biological and chemical attacks.

  • In the last 17 months more than 19,000 police officers, firefighters and other first responders have received more than 184,000 hours of specialized training from the state to deal with a possible terrorist attack.

The Terrorism Task Force is on top of Domestic Preparedness efforts being spearheaded by Illinois agencies. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency works with local emergency and disaster teams every year, training for large-scale emergencies. Last year IEMA trained more than 600 people in emergency management procedures.

Gov. Ryan announced he is expanding the duties of Deputy Governor for Criminal Justice and Public Safety, Matt Bettenhausen, to include coordination for "homeland security." Bettenhausen will be responsible for working with the federal Office of Homeland Security and to coordinate changes to Illinois' plans in dealing with possible terrorist threats.

Under Governor Ryan's direction, IEMA will conduct a series of 16 regional training seminars for local governments that will be open to the public. IEMA will not only use these seminars for training, but also to find out what other domestic preparedness needs exist throughout Illinois.

Gov. Ryan also outlined his plans to keep the state's budget balanced. Gov. Ryan is ordering all agencies to reserve 2% of their General Revenue Fund budgets, and asked all constitutional officers to do the same.

"Before September 11, our review of spending in July and August showed we were in reasonably good shape," Gov. Ryan said. "All previous scenarios evaporated on September 11."

Gov. Ryan said that conservative estimates now place revenues at about $450 million below previous expectations. That revenue loss will be made up through the 2% reserve of General Revenue Funds, identification of additional federal funding of as much as $100 million and the $50 million in spending reductions already put in place.


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