Lt. Governor Stephen B.Pence's Communication Office
Lieutenant Governor Steve Pence names Owensboro and Daviess County “Prepared Kentucky Communities”
Frankfort, KY: Lieutenant Governor Steve Pence today honored Owensboro and Daviess County for the advances they have made in improving safety and homeland security by naming them Prepared Kentucky Communities.
Lt. Governor Pence made the presentation to city and county officials at the Owensboro City Hall.
Owensboro was one of the first communities in the state to volunteer for 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 more than just a way to protect our borders from outside enemies. It's possible we have our own terrorists who would attack from within,” Lt. Governor Pence said. “The officials in Owensboro and Daviess County did not adopt a false sense of security that a catastrophe could never happen in their communities. They eagerly welcomed the assessment team because they wanted to improve security. And since the team has left, the city and county have made tremendous strides in making the entire area safer.”
Officials from the police department ensured each of the sites assessed received and understood the recommendations made by the KCPP team.
Among some of the advances the community has made are improvements to security of the police department and sheriff’s office headquarter facilities. The police department has also provided additional training to all officers in reactive shooting and is providing a means of backup communications for the Public Safety Communications Center.
The Kentucky Community Preparedness Program assessment team arrived in Owensboro on Monday, April 18, and for five days inspected its preparedness levels. Assessors analyzed facilities, structures and security policies and their relationship to each other in order to identify the community’s weaknesses. The team then presented a report of recommendations for improvements.
“The opportunities to have trained assessors come to a community and assist in pointing out possible vulnerabilities is a program every community should take advantage of,” said Owensboro Police Chief John Kazlauskas. “The program took only a small amount of time but helped in giving progressive recommendations focusing on not only hostile attacks, but brought to light some potential hazards nor previously recognized.”
The assessment process is the first step a community takes to prepare and protect its citizens not only from a hostile event, but also from a natural disaster, emergency or criminal activity.
“The community assessments are a critical piece of the Commonwealth’s prevention-focused homeland security strategy,” said Kentucky Office of Homeland Security Director Alecia Webb-Edgington. “Ensuring Kentucky’s communities, first responders and families are ready and prepared requires the support of local officials and citizens alike, and I applaud Owensboro’s and Daviess County’s efforts in helping us better prepare Kentucky.”
The community is also eligible to be reimbursed up to $10,000 for making recommended changes.
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.”