Sheriff’s Department Works With Homeland Security to Ensure Safety of Calvert County - Southern Maryland Headline News

Sheriff’s Department Works With Homeland Security to Ensure Safety of Calvert County

Calvert County Sheriff Mike Evans said the Sheriff’s Office is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security, as well as federal and private sector coordinating councils, to ensure that the county is prepared for any emergency that may arise.

The Department of Homeland Security recently released an all-hazards National Response Plan for responding to “incidents of national security,” such as a terrorist act involving a nuclear power plant. DHS will deliver a plan to President Bush this month that recognizes the far-reaching measures the nuclear energy industry has taken to protect that segment of the country’s critical infrastructure. The states and communities that host nuclear power plants—such as Calvert County—are an integral part of these protective measures because they play critical roles in nuclear plant emergency preparedness.

DHS officials lauded the industry for its progressive security efforts at a Nuclear Security Executive Forum in Washington, D.C. The meeting was held jointly by the Nuclear Sector Coordinating Council and its government counterpart, the Government Coordinating Council. About 90 participants from both the government and private sector attended. The forum brought together industry and government officials to address U.S. nuclear energy assets.

Evans joined other homeland security experts for a panel describing the vital partnership between local, state and federal law enforcement in preparing to respond in the unlikely event of a terrorist act involving the Calvert Cliffs nuclear plant.

Assistant DHS Secretary Robert Liscouski said that the president is expected to sign the National Infrastructure Protection Plan at the end of the month. He said the coordinated federal plan represents “the first time that we have a national level plan that will articulate what we are doing for infrastructure protection.”

“I’ve been out at a number of your facilities, and I know firsthand that they are among, if not the, best-protected sites in the United States,” he said. “We know that there is a lot of good activity going on to protect the sites. So we want to maintain that profile.”

Evans is confident that the county’s training and experience in emergency preparedness in connection with Calvert Cliffs have well-prepared the area to respond to emergencies, whatever their cause. He described the integrated communication system that will allow all responders to be on the same radio frequency and the high level of integration with other state and federal law enforcement agencies.

“We are more than prepared for a potential emergency,” Evans said. “We’ve trained often in emergency exercises for the Calvert Cliffs plant, and we are in constant communication with Constellation Energy.”

Other officials joining Evans on the panel were Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Rick Thomas, Calvert County homeland security advisor; Gene Gwiazdowski, director of security for Calvert Cliffs; Ed Roach, director of emergency preparedness for Constellation Energy; and Steve Hooper from the FBI.

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