EKU Prepares First Responders for GOP Convention

Published on July 13, 2016

Eastern Kentucky University’s Justice & Safety Center recently trained first responders from Ohio in preparation for the Republican National Convention, which drew thousands of participants, protesters, and media personnel to Cleveland July 18-21.

As a member of the Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium, a federally-sponsored grant program, EKU’s Justice & Safety Center has developed and delivered certified homeland security training to first responders across the country in event security planning, media relations, disaster recovery, isolation and quarantine, and emergency management issues.

Part of EKU’s College of Justice & Safety, the center focuses on providing quality research, project management, and expertise in the areas of training and learning, technology and innovation, security and resilience, and special studies. It has a long history of working collaboratively with external organizations and partners to strengthen justice and safety initiatives at the local, state, national and international levels.

The Event Security Planning for Public Safety Professionals training, hosted at the Northeast Ohio Regional Fusion Center, included first responders from the local police department, sheriff’s department, the emergency management agency, city and county fire departments, the office of public health, the county health department and several private sector businesses. The focus of the training included increasing cooperation and coordination of personnel and resources in response to emergency situations involving multiple agencies.

The training was delivered by instructors Dr. Jerry Wells and Bobby Day. Wells, a 32-year law enforcement veteran, received his master’s degree in criminal justice from EKU and serves on the EKU College of Justice & Safety Alumni Society Board of Directors. Day, a veteran of the Kentucky State Police, has taught military and law enforcement personnel throughout the United States and abroad.

“In any organized special event, but in particular a large and high profile event such as the RNC, there is always the specter of chaos and disruption, whether it comes from a terrorism attempt, protest interference with the freedom of movement or even an intoxicated attendee,” Wells said.

Large political conventions merge multiple agencies, disciplines and jurisdictions, which alone can create issues. “Add to these concerns planning, staffing, logistics, intelligence gathering, risk assessments, crowd control, access management, traffic and transportation while still being able to respond to non-event calls for service,” Day said.

Practice and preparation for any situation is important, Wells said, and the Event Security Planning course allows first responder agencies to better prepare for any outcome.

For more information on the training, contact the Justice & Safety Center at 859-622-8825 or firstrespondertraining@eku.edu. For more information on the Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium, visit www.ruraltraining.org.