The governor’s Task Force on Terrorism Preparedness, created early last week by Gov. Scott McCallum in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, is scheduled to meet Thursday to determine the group’s direction and to create both short and long-term public safety goals.
The 20-member committee, whose representatives include police, fire and Emergency Medical Services officials, officials from public health departments and information technology professionals, will be responding to concerns about potential terrorist threats and security in Wisconsin. The task force is aimed at allowing all areas of public defense to come together to voice concerns and create solutions.
The committee named Wisconsin Emergency Management Administrator Ed Gleason and Health and Family Services Secretary Phyllis Dubé as task force co-chairpersons.
Gleason said the task force was created because the governor wanted to ensure that all state departments are working together to protect citizens if Wisconsin is threatened by terrorist acts.
“The governor wanted to make sure that we didn’t leave any stone unturned,” Gleason said. “We need to have a reasonable expectation on the assistance that we could provide in the event of a terrorist attack. The real goal will be to look at some of the work that had already been done and to make sure that they aren’t missing anything.”
Gleason said the group is currently focusing on communication between agencies and establishing and maintaining consistent security precautions throughout the state.
McCallum said the panel will take a three-tiered approach: examining the state’s past actions related to terrorism and preparedness; identifying current terrorism risks; and providing guidance to state agencies for the future to ensure the safety of Wisconsin citizens.
Committee member Jeff Davis, chief medical official and state epidemiologist for communicable diseases at the Department of Health and Family Services, said although terrorism might not be a local threat, the state should still be prepared.
“The important thing to remember is that these events could happen anywhere,” Davis said. “Being prepared is important not only in this state, but in any state.”
McCallum also stressed the importance of preparedness for terrorist attacks.
“Terrorism remains a threat to our people, our property and our way of life,” McCallum said in a statement. “In Wisconsin, we must continue our efforts to prepare for, protect against and respond to the possibility of future terrorist attacks.”