Homeland security-Tulsa's perspective

Friday, June 7th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The proposed restructuring of federal government home security would shift entire agencies from where they are today. So, how will it affect all of us? News on Six reporter Jenni Monet talked with Tulsa's Emergency Management Director to get some perspective.

With an eye on the screen, Tulsa's Emergency Management Director, Mike McCool takes quick notes. "Talking about takin Aubaugh and putting him under here and making this person the 11th cabinet position?" Trying to make sense of the plan to shift government for the first time since the cold war. "This would be a pretty big move this could be a pretty big change organizationally. Whether it saves any money or not, I don't know."

For six years, McCool has been in charge of a city ready to handle a crisis. "Just the consequences. That's all we do in local emergency management is we're in the business of consequence management." From city fire, to city police, he says the President's proposal to create a new cabinet level department for homeland security will certainly be felt here at home.

"If he reorganizes it at the federal level, we will have to reorganize our thinking at the local level to understand how it's going to roll down the pike to us." Whatever happens, McCool says the state and the city have much more work that needs to be done. "We've got a lot of equipment and training, but we're not there yet. We're not where I want to be yet." McCool says Tulsa emergency crews are well versed in bio-terror threats and have been practicing training exercises once a month for the past five months.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating signed an anti-terrorism bill into law Thursday. Keating calls it a start to establishing broad anti-terrorism legislation right here at home.