Representatives of 10 state and federal departments met to hear Dunn Lampton, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi, announce the program.
"What we've decided was the most needed aspect is training to train our law enforcement officers, our firemen, our emergency medical personnel, to train them to identify what a terrorist would look like, where he could be and then to train our people to work together," said Lampton. "And it's our belief that if every United States attorney's office can do the proper training, there won't be any place in the United States where we have a soft spot for terrorism to take place."
The training will be held in 11 cities, including Meridian. They will begin in February at dates yet to be determined. There will be a maximum of 100 for each training class. The program is the result of a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Jim Greenlee, U.S. attorney for the Northern District, said officials recognized a need for the training.
"What need needs to be fulfilled and we needed to get out and train our first responders," said Greenlee, "the folks that everybody in the state depends upon when something happens to them to know what to look for terrorism and how to respond to it."
Keith Moses of the FBI outlined the training plan.
"The training is a two day curriculum, a 16 hour block that is, post certified I believe," said Moses. "It's being done in conjunction with all the participants you see here on the board and someone asked what was different about this training. I don't know if the question was answered, but it's prevention. The key thing about this is prevention."
If there is a demand, a similar series of training programs will also be held in the fall of 2003.