Focus: Securing the Homeland

By: Chris Brennaman
By: Chris Brennaman

The Governor's Homeland Security Conference is focusing on three areas: prevention, response, and public health.

Among the response topics discussed Monday was Hurricane Katrina and some of the lessons learned from the disaster.

The city of Meridian and Lauderdale County representatives say they recognize how things could have been better.

"During the Katrina situation, had we been at one location, it would have been much easier for everyone," said Craig Hitt, President of the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors. "We were continually on the phones or driving back and forth across town to talk to the city or for the city to talk to us."

Meridian City Councilman John Harris says that it is time for the city and county to put aside any personal differences they may have and keep working for the people who elected them.

"Once we put away our personal agenda and make the people our agenda, and it goes back to people, service, progress, I think we'll all progress once we give priority to the citizens of Meridian and Lauderdale County, to make sure that we look or for their best interests," Harris said.

Meridian Homeland Security officials say that in order to respond to the next disaster better, one thing more than any other needs to be done.

"Working together with other agencies, you've got to strengthen those relationships," said Eddie Ivy of Meridian's Homeland Security Department. "It can't be done in a vacuum. If everyone takes their part and really works to do it, it's going to make a lot better response in the long run."

The conference continues through Wednesday and will also feature discussions about other homeland security issues such as the Islamic religion and how it deals with Middle-Eastern terrorism.


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