Office of Homeland Security
Governor Ernie Fletcher Delivers Homeland Security Checks to the Barren River Area Development District and Warren County to Support Local First Responders

Press Release Date:  Friday, November 11, 2005  
Contact Information:  Jason Keller

FRANKFORT, Ky.: Governor Ernie Fletcher was in Bowling Green on Veterans Day to deliver two homeland security checks to support the efforts of local first responders. Additionally, Gov. Fletcher announced the appointment of former Bowling Green Police Deputy Chief Mari Harris, to serve as the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security’s Deputy Director for Operations and Prevention. 

“It is critical that we provide our commonwealth’s first responders with the interoperable communications and HazMat equipment they need to do their jobs effectively,” said Gov. Fletcher. “Effective communication and ensuring local responders have the tools they need during an incident is vital to the overall safety of a community. I am proud to present this funding that will work to ensure these priorities are met.”  

Gov. Fletcher added, “We are proud to have Mari Harris join our team to ensure Kentucky is ready and prepared. As a 20-year law enforcement veteran, Mari’s experience and talent will be a tremendous asset.”  

The first grant presented to the Barren River Area Development District (BRADD) in the amount of $500,000 will be used for a voice interoperability project for the 10 county BRADD region.  This project will build out the necessary infrastructure in these counties so that first responders will have radio connectivity, regardless of jurisdiction. This will allow first responders, from law enforcement to firefighters to EMT’s, to have connectivity with one another no matter where they are in the region. 

This project is one of only two like it going on in the state that will utilize the recommendations from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security pilot project.

SAFECOM which was awarded to Kentucky several months ago. This project will put Kentucky on the cutting edge of interoperability throughout the country.  

The second grant presented today was to the Warren County Fiscal Court in the amount of $133,000. This grant will enhance the operations of the region’s Hazardous Materials (HazMat) response team. The funding will allow the team to purchase personal protective equipment including suits, respirators, and self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA’s).  The region’s HazMat team serves a 10-county area in south central Kentucky which includes Warren, Butler, Edmonson, Hart, Metcalfe, Barren, Monroe, Allen, Simpson and Logan.

State Sen. Brett Guthrie stated, “As we have seen recently with the tornado in Kentucky and Indiana, communications and specialized equipment are vital to saving lives. I commend the Administration for its dedication to preparedness.”

Mari Harris joins the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security after serving 25 years with the Bowling Green Police Department.  Since being hired as a Police Officer in 1980, she served in various units and rose to Deputy Chief of the Field Operations Unit, and was responsible for the Criminal Investigations Unit, Communications Unit, and Traffic and Patrol. During her tenure with the Bowling Green Police Department, she assisted in establishing the following programs:  Citizen’s Police Academy, Police Chaplain Volunteer Program, School Liaison Program, Crime Analysis, and Crime Stoppers.