Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communication Office
Governor Fletcher honors Richmond and Madison County for advances in safety and homeland security
Richmond, Madison County are collectively named first-ever Prepared Kentucky Community
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher today honored Richmond and Madison County for the advances they have made in improving safety and homeland security by collectively naming them the first-ever Prepared Kentucky Community.
Fletcher made the presentation to city and county officials on the steps of the Madison County Courthouse.
Richmond was one of the first cities to go through the Kentucky Community Preparedness Program. KCPP is the Department of Criminal Justice Training’s homeland security initiative that strengthens the security of Kentucky communities by locating and eliminating potential vulnerabilities. It focuses on hostile acts and crime in small- and medium-sized communities through a system of risk assessments and recommendations for improved security.
“Homeland security is not just a way to protect our borders from outside enemies. We must also remain vigilant and prepared for the ever-present threat of criminal activity and natural disasters,” Governor Fletcher said.
“The officials in Richmond and Madison County did not adopt a false sense of security that something could never happen in their community. The officials eagerly welcomed in the assessment team because they wanted to improve their security and response capabilities. Since the team has left, the city and county have made tremendous strides in making the entire community safer.”
The Kentucky Community Preparedness Program assessment team arrived in Richmond on Monday, May 16. For five days, the team inspected the preparedness levels of the community. Assessors analyzed facilities, structures and security policies and their relationship to each other in order to identify the community’s weaknesses. Additionally, the team focused on the community’s relationship to the Bluegrass Army Depot and the preparedness and potential response capabilities associated with it. The team then presented a report of recommendations for improvements.
“We wanted a fresh set of eyes to look at our community, see where we were in terms of safety and help us get to the next level,” said Richmond Mayor Connie Lawson. “The team performed a professional and complete assessment and provided us with a useful list of areas where we could make improvements for the safety of all of our citizens.”
Richmond is the first city to complete the entire process and earn the distinction of being a Prepared Kentucky Community.
“What Richmond and Madison County has done is a monumental piece of the Commonwealth’s overall preparedness plan,” said Kentucky Office of Homeland Security Director Alecia Webb-Edgington. “Through their participation in this program, they have raised the awareness levels, and one of the vital aspects to our strategy is for all citizens of Kentucky to remain vigilant.
With a heightened awareness, people may notice things that they possibly would have overlooked before.”
The community is also eligible to be reimbursed up to $10,000 for making recommended changes. Richmond has not yet spent the $10,000, but plans to use the money to make improvements that will benefit the entire community.
KCPP is funded by a $2.4 million grant from the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security. The grant is allowing DOCJT to implement the program in 60 small-and medium-sized communities throughout the state during 2005. The program received an additional $1.2 million grant in 2005 to continue the program for 30 more communities. The program is funded through June 2006.
“As we move across Kentucky, this program is gaining momentum,” said KCPP Director Chuck Melville. “The professional job the assessors have done and the quality information they are returning to communities across the state has established this program as a necessary tool in the fight against terrorism.”