Blagojevich announces new initiatives to increase safety on more
than 180 college campuses throughout Illinois
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builds on governor's school security initiatives for K-12, includes
task force to develop campus security strategies, new grants for
interoperable communications equipment and college representation on
Illinois Terrorism Task Force
[April 30, 2007]
SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Rod R.
Blagojevich on Sunday announced three initiatives to enhance safety
for students, faculty, staff and visitors at Illinois institutions
of higher education. The governor's initiatives, which build upon
his K-12 school security initiatives instituted in 2005, include
creation of a task force charged with developing training to help
colleges prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies; over
$300,000 in grants to improve interoperable communications
capabilities on campuses; and the addition of college officials and
campus security representatives to the multiagency Illinois
Terrorism Task Force, which develops and implements the state's
homeland security strategy.
"We have a responsibility to do
everything possible to ensure the safety of all students, from
elementary and secondary schools to colleges and universities,"
Blagojevich said. "As the senseless tragedy at Virginia Tech last
week showed us, tragedy can strike any time, any place, anywhere.
Two years ago, we initiated an ambitious effort to ensure elementary
and secondary schools are prepared to handle all types of
emergencies. This training program has been widely acclaimed and, to
date, nearly 900 public and private schools have participated in it.
I believe this program provides a solid foundation for the college
security training program that I am directing the new Illinois
Campus Security Task Force to develop."
The governor's campus
safety initiative has three components:
Creation of an
Illinois Campus Security Task Force with members representing
community colleges, public and private colleges and
universities, proprietary institutions, the Illinois Terrorism
Task Force, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, the
Illinois State Police, the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm
System, and the Illinois Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.
provides $330,000 from the Illinois Terrorism Task Force to the
Illinois Campus Law Enforcement Administrators to purchase
portable Starcom 21 radios, which will provide colleges with
interoperable communications capabilities with other responders
during emergencies. The Illinois Terrorism Task Force already
has distributed more than 1,800 Starcom radios to public safety
agencies throughout the state, including law enforcement, fire,
emergency management and public health departments.
Illinois Board of Higher Education, the Illinois Community
College Board and the Illinois Campus Law Enforcement
Administrators to the Illinois Terrorism Task Force. The
participation of these groups will also allow other public
safety bodies to gain additional insight into the security
issues and incidence response requirements unique to college
campuses. The Illinois Terrorism Task Force currently has more
than 70 member organizations, representing state and
local agencies, public safety organizations, municipalities with
populations over 100,000, and the business community.
Blagojevich has charged the new Illinois Campus Security Task
Force to examine security issues on college campuses and develop
protocols that will ensure the safety of students, faculty, staff
and visitors at those campuses. As a first step, the governor is
directing the task force to identify training needs and implement
programs that will help campus security officials prepare for,
respond to and recover from security incidents on their campuses.
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"Illinois' higher education system provides a rich mix of highly
diverse institutions in every corner of Illinois, and we realize
there is not a 'one size fits all' solution to the complex issue of
campus security," said Illinois Board of Higher Education Chairwoman
Carrie Hightman. "Creation of the Illinois Campus Security Task
Force and inclusion of colleges and universities in the Illinois
Terrorism Task Force is a logical, productive step toward building
on existing policies and resources to protect the safety and enhance
the security of all on our college campuses."
The governor's college security initiatives announced Sunday
expand upon his earlier school security initiatives for grades K-12
contained in the School Safety Drill Act. Signed into law in August
2005, the act includes:
Creation of a
School Security Training Project to enhance school safety and
emergency operations planning.
Creation of an
"all-hazards" school emergency drill statute to replace existing
fire, bus and tornado drill statutes with streamlined rules.
Creation of a
comprehensive new state model emergency planning guide for
schools, which included merging and updating two existing
Since the school security training project was initiated in
August 2005, more than 2,600 educators and first responders from
public and private schools throughout the state have attended one of
the more than 80 free training sessions offered. The two courses --
a five-hour "Critical Incident Response Teams" seminar and a two-day
"Multi-Hazard Emergency Planning for Illinois Schools" workshop --
help schools prepare for developing emergency management teams and
updating their emergency and crisis response plans. Last week 25
Illinois State Police safety education officers participated in the
"Multi-Hazard Emergency Planning for Illinois Schools," which
qualifies these officers to conduct trainings in their geographic
In addition to his other requests, the governor has directed the
Illinois Campus Security Task Force to re-examine the state's School
Safety Drill Act to determine if some provisions should be amended
to include colleges.
[Text from file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]