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Chairmen of Missouri Terrorism Committee Says the State Needs To Do More

December 6, 2005
By: Tim Walker
State Capital Bureau

The chairmen of Missouri's Joint Committee on Terrorism says he wants to see more progress from the state's emergency agencies.

Tim Walker has more from Jefferson City.

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The committee heard from a long line of emergency departments about their progress in preparing for a disaster.

Republican Representative Jack Johnson, the committee's chair, says the state is not where it should be.

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"I want to see if we can do what we're planning and saying we can do. It does no good to put it up on a powerpoint presentation if you can't do it."

Department of Public Safety Director, Mark James, told the Committee Missouri would have a difficult time if a major catastrophe hit the state.

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"We would be very challenged in working with our local and county counterparts there. It would be a huge challenge."

Reporting from the state Capital, I'm Tim Walker

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One state legislator says Missouri still needs to improve its disaster planning.

Tim Walker has more from Jefferson City.

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Republican Representative Jack Johnson from Wildwood chairs the Missouri Joint Committee on Terrorism.

The Committee heard four hours of testimony about the state's progress in preparing for a disaster.

Johnson says state agencies need to have a sense of urgency.

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"Now they've told me that they want to do the right thing and this is what they want to do. I want to see if they do it. And if they don't then maybe they can get some adult supervision."

Director of the Department of Public Safety, Mark James, said dealing with a major catastrophe would be a huge challenge for the state.

From the state Capital, I'm Tim Walker.

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The Missouri Department of Public Safety is trying to figure out how to fill positions for a new 24 hour security analysis center.

Tim Walker has more from Jefferson City.

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Safety and Law enforcement officials could call the center and request information about security issues.

The Missouri Department of Public Safety says it would need to hire and train people to analyze this information.

Lieutenant Sid Conklin, of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, says retired state employees are likely candidates to fill these positions.

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"They would still conform to our job description for analysts. We're not providing actual benefits, we'd be able to actually offer more of a wage for them.

Conklin says it's a quick fix, but its worked in some other states.

From the state Capital, I'm Tim Walker.

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The state plans to house data on security threats under one roof.

Tim Walker has more from Jefferson City.

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The proposed Missouri Information and Analysis Center would be in change of sifting through information about disasters and potential terrorist attacks.

Safety and Law Enforcement officials could then contact a 24 hour call center for information.

Major James Keathley, of the Highway Patrol's Criminal Investigation Bureau, says good intelligence and prevention is key.

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"If we can prevent these things from happening, then the rest of these people sitting back here, the guard, SEMA, they don't have to kick in. Their agency has nothing to do.

The state may hire retired state employees to analyze information at the center.

From the state Capitol, I'm Tim Walker.