SPRINGFIELD – With the 10th anniversary of 9/11 just days away, Illinois’ homeland security officials today launched an initiative that will help shape the state’s homeland security preparedness and response policies into the next decade. As part of Governor Quinn’s commitment to public safety and the state’s observance of National Preparedness Month, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) announced ‘Illinois Homeland Security Vision 2020,’ a statewide, grass-root effort to engage Illinois’ residents and organizations in development of the state’s strategy for dealing with current and emerging threats and risks and response to disasters.
“Ten years after the tragic events of 9/11, Illinois’ homeland security program is recognized as one of the best in the nation, and we’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished thus far,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken, who also serves as the state’s Homeland Security Advisor. “But the terrorist threat in ever-evolving and our program must continue to rise to meet those challenges. Through the ‘Illinois Homeland Security Vision 2020’ initiative, we will engage the whole community in the development of an innovative homeland security strategy that will carry us through the remainder of this decade and beyond.”
Beginning this fall, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) will conduct a series of eight meetings across the state to gather input and ideas on homeland security issues from organizations and citizens. In addition to more than 60 groups and organizations already involved in the state’s homeland security policy, such as fire services, law enforcement, emergency management and public health, IEMA will encourage participation from such areas as religious organizations, business leaders, individual citizens and others as part of the whole community preparedness.
The results from those meetings will be compiled by staff from the University of Illinois at Springfield’s Center for Public Safety and Justice and presented at a statewide summit of state and local policy makers and local leaders in August 2012. At that summit, officials will prioritize recommendations and develop a long-term homeland security strategy to take Illinois to 2020 and beyond.
Monken said the new initiative is similar to a process the state initiated shortly after 9/11. A series of regional public meetings and homeland security workshops were held in late 2001 and early 2002, and a statewide homeland security summit was conducted in May 2002 in Springfield. Through this process, Illinois developed a homeland security strategy that served as the foundation for many of the state’s preparedness activities. These efforts have made Illinois a recognized national leader in homeland security.
"The partnerships built through the ITTF and reinforced by the first homeland security summit have placed Illinois in the forefront of states for the effective use of homeland security resources and helped Illinois communities respond quickly and effectively to both natural and man-caused disasters over the past decade,” said Richard Jaehne, director of the Illinois Fire Service Institute and co-chair of the first homeland security summit.. “Illinois citizens are safer because of the strategies and partnerships we have forged and implemented together."
The Illinois Terrorism Task Force (ITTF) implements the state’s homeland security policy. The ITTF’s membership includes representatives from more than 60 agencies and organizations from federal, state, local, private sector and nongovernmental organizations.