By Brian Livingston / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Meridian Star
Hurricane Katrina devastated the state from the Mississippi Gulf Coast northward to Interstate 20 and in its aftermath, scores of state and national leaders visited the state to view the damage.
It was during those visits officials with the Department of Homeland Security realized special training for high profile public figures was needed. For the next two weeks, a training curriculum designed and implemented by one of Meridian's own will be conducted for law enforcement officers from across the state.
The program, Executive Protection Classes, was written and submitted by Mike Street with the city of Meridian's Department of Public Safety and Training at the Meridian / Lauderdale County Public Training Safety Facility located on Sandflat Road. Street was successful in submitting the program and getting the approval of the state's Department of Homeland Security, which effectively gave Meridian the opportunity to host the training at the sprawling facility.
"This is a program that offers a diversified subject matter on providing safety for officials who need escort and protection while visiting a location," Street said. "The bonus is we get to host the training, which will bring scores of officers to our area over the next three weeks."
Street said the area should enjoy an economic boom in the form of hotel reservations, restaurants and gas sales.
The training itself for the more than 100 officers so far signed up for the program will cover the basics and then advanced training issues in relation to providing close security measures for executive officials, how to transport and effectively cover certain areas in which the official may visit, and how to counteract any hostile scenario that may arise. The program is paid by a $90,000 grant through the Department of Homeland Security.
Street, who will also be the main instructor for the classes, said other representatives with the Department of Homeland Security will be on hand to help facilitate certain aspects of the training. All of the focus will be on how best to protect the public official at the same time allowing them access to the areas they need to see visit while interacting with the public.
"These officers already know a great deal about security issues but we will be more specific in our training to go a little deeper into the subject matter," Street said.
The classes began Sunday and will continue through the following two weeks until the end of the month when Street said real world scenarios will be set up for the officers.