Statewide Security Meeting

By: Mike McDaniel
By: Mike McDaniel

In a world of constant emergencies, a group of men and women from research universities across the country are looking for ways to make response and preparation better than ever.

They're doing it by drawing on past and present research and technology and then finding ways to implement new infrastructure and security tactics. That includes everything from natural disasters and terrorism to more local emergencies like fires and patrols.

"These are federal government sponsored research programs and unless we get them out into practice then it's a waste of money," said director of University Programs with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Matthew Clark.

Clark says the program yields security and emergency response developments for federal, state and local entities.

"It's to help the people who are our front line and who are our security personnel, to become more effective and be able to do their jobs more easily and save money," said Clark.

The city of Jackson is already saving money thanks to the program.

"It's a GIS, a geographical information system," said director of the Center for Defense Integrated Data at JSU, Gordon Skelton as he pointed to a digital city map.

Skelton helped map out every unoccupied structure and fire hydrant in the city.

"This is beneficial to them when they have to respond to a fire because uninhabited structures are very dangerous for firefighters to respond to," said Skelton.

It took almost a year to complete but now the city is using the program and it came at no cost. Skelton says Jackson and other cities across the state are not able to afford that type of integration.

"It's not an easy task to go from research into somebody actually using something," said Clark.

It's this type of technology which Skelton says Mississippi can benefit from.

"We are one of those states that is privileged to have natural disasters. We have hurricanes on the Gulf Coast, we have tornados all over the state and we have flooding," said Skelton.

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