New Jersey Officials Join National Homeland Security Summit

New Jersey Officials Join National Homeland Security Summit

Menendez, Lautenberg tap Speziale, Fontoura, and Warrington to represent Garden State at forum

Washington - Passaic County Sheriff Jerry Speziale and Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura are today joining homeland security experts and professionals from across America to discuss new trends in emergency preparedness and best practices in the homeland security community. Fontoura and Speziale were nominated to attend todays summit by U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ). New Jersey Transit executive director George Warrington was also scheduled to attend but could not due to the Amtrak power outage.

Within the borders of our state lie a major airport, nuclear power plants, critical rail lines, major tourist destinations, and countless other potential targets for attack, said Menendez. Sheriffs Speziale and Fontoura are homeland security professionals who work every day to keep New Jerseyans safe and Im proud that they represented our state in this critical summit.

New Jersey lost 700 of its people on 9/11, and we live under a constant threat of a future attack due to the infrastructure our state possesses, said Lautenberg. Because of these dangerous times and the threat of terrorism I am pleased we have such fine professional law enforcement on the ground like Sheriffs Speziale and Fontoura.

Sheriff Speziale said while homeland security professionals have become increasingly sophisticated in devising emergency management plans, even the most comprehensive plan is ineffective without the required resources to implement it.

The number one challenge we face as emergency management professionals today is funding, Speziale said. Without that funding it does not matter how well we manage emergencies or how detailed our response plans are. I appreciate the efforts of Senators Menendez and Lautenberg, who fight every day to ensure New Jersey receives homeland security funding that is based on the risk we all face daily.

Sheriff Fontoura said North Jersey has many landmarks that could be attractive to would-be terrorists and that communicating with other municipalities and governmental agencies is critical.

Essex County is home to Newark Liberty Airport, one of Americas largest ports, as well as major tunnels to and from New York City, said Fontoura. Because our area is has so many potential targets of attack interoperability is critical. That is why it is important to talk with our colleagues from other parts of the country to discuss what works and what doesnt.

A variety of topics will be discussed during the Homeland Security include how best to prepare American for the net domestic emergency and improving interoperability and intergovernmental communication during a disaster.

Participants will hear from homeland security specialists, including: Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness; Michele Flournoy, senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; Dr. Tara OToole, CEO and director, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Center for Biosecurity; and Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters.

In addition to first responders and homeland security experts from across the country, Sheriffs Speziale and Fontoura will dialogue with a distinguished gathering of leaders including: Jamie Gorelick, former deputy attorney general and member of the 9/11 Commission; Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner; former Senator Bob Kerrey, president of The New School and member of the 9/1 Commission; and key Democratic leadership in the Senate.

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