Agencies Clarify Roles

By: Aisha Greer
By: Aisha Greer

On Oct. 7, the Meridian Police and Fire Departments were involved in a search and rescue operation of a man who was lost in Bonita Lakes Park. As part of an old protocol, assistance was requested from the city by the Lauderdale Emergency Management Agency.

The assistance by LEMA led to a letter being sent by Meridian's chief administrative officer on Oct. 15 that read:

"I respect the importance of our county emergency management agency and understand the request came from our own department to contact LEMA. However, I feel it is crucial that the city's emergency management operations (Homeland Security Dept.) be notified first."

"Secondly, I would like to have them notified any time a significant incident occurs inside the city's limits."

In the letter, Storms instructed both the city and the E-911 office to honor the request. That incident lead to the E-911 Commission holding a meeting regarding emergency management procedures within the city limits of Meridian.

"My only concern is that it does not happen again. We want to handle incidents in the city and if we need help we will ask for it from the county," said Ken Storms, Meridian's chief administrative officer.

"With this understanding, the city will be responsible for what goes on in the city and we will be responsible for what goes on in both the city and the county," said LEMA director Clarence Butler. "We will continue to help both the city and the county."

Storms said that Meridian is the head of a regional response team that includes nine counties and they have all the resources they need to respond to any significant incident that may occur inside the city's limits.


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