SPRINGFIELD – After nearly a year of listening to emergency responders, business leaders, government representatives and others from across the state, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is hosting a two-day summit Thursday and Friday in Springfield to mold that input into the state’s new homeland security strategy.
The Illinois Homeland Security Vision 2020 initiative was launched last fall as a statewide, grass-roots initiative to engage Illinois’ residents and organizations in the revision of the state’s strategy for dealing with current and emerging threats and risks, citizen preparedness and disaster response and recovery.
More than 400 people participated in a series of eight town hall meetings that focused on gathering input and ideas on homeland security and disaster response issues. Participants included law enforcement, fire services, public and private health organizations, emergency management, school officials, private sector, elected officials, non-governmental organizations and private citizens. The meetings were held in Belleville, Urbana, Effingham, Springfield, Carterville, Dixon, Sugar Grove and Wheaton.
“Traveling around the state, meeting with people from throughout the community, gave us a clearer picture of their concerns and challenges for homeland security and emergency preparedness,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “While some issues were unique to certain regions, several common themes emerged. These will be core components of the new state strategy that will lead us into the next decade.”
Monken said the five key topics from the town hall meetings will be discussed by participants in the summit. Those topics include: intelligence and information sharing; community resilience; interoperable communications; training; and sustaining capabilities of established assets and partnerships.
Following the summit, the membership of the Illinois Terrorism Task Force (ITTF) will incorporate the input from the participants into a final homeland security strategy that will guide homeland security preparedness for the next decade.
Vision 2020 is similar to the process the state of Illinois undertook in 2001, shortly after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. That process resulted in the development of a statewide homeland security program that is recognized as one of the best in the nation.