On Wednesday, May 29, 2019, County of Summit Executive Ilene Shapiro and City of Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan hosted the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for an Executive Education Seminar at the American Red Cross in Akron. The seminar was a scenario-based exploration of the current homeland security and emergency management systems in Akron and Summit County. Participants included representatives from City of Akron Mayor’s Office, City of Akron Police and Fire departments, Summit County Executive’s Office, Summit County Emergency Management Agency, Summit County Sheriff, Summit County Fiscal Officer, Summit County Council, Summit County Public Health, METRO, and the University of Akron. Also in attendance were FEMA Regional Administrator James Joseph and FEMA Region V Federal Preparedness Coordinator Mike Chesney.

“If a crisis occurs we will need all hands on deck, so I was pleased to see officials and representatives from a range of government entities and community organizations at this seminar,” said Executive Shapiro. “In training with a well-regarded institution like the Center for Homeland Defense and Security, Summit County residents can be assured that we are doing all we can to anticipate adverse events and plan appropriate, effective responses.”

The seminar was facilitated by Clark Kimerer of CHDS and featured a panel of subject matter experts with international experience in the fields of public health, emergency management, crisis communications, intelligence, and homeland security. Participants engaged in policy-level roundtable discussions to further develop roles and responsibilities in the context of disaster management, with a particular focus on multi-jurisdictional coordination between Summit County and Akron. Participants also used the seminar as an opportunity to establish contacts and further strengthen relationships with other community stakeholders.

The seminar discussion highlighted the extensive collaboration between Summit County and local government, in this case the City of Akron, within the field of emergency management. Such high-level collaboration between the two jurisdictions enables increased response capabilities and recovery continuity, leading to better overall outcomes.

“While we hope to never encounter the emergencies discussed in the seminar, it is reassuring to know that the expertise is in place at the City, County and Federal level to respond appropriately.  City of Akron residents are in good hands with our first responders and the staff who support them,” said Mayor Horrigan.

CHDS is located at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.  CHDS programs are focused on leadership development to transform how public safety officials view an increasingly complex world and homeland security mission.  The seminar was provided at no cost to local participants.

“I commend Summit County and Akron for their proactive emergency management planning and training. The collaboration between the two levels of government is just not something we see in all communities,” said Dawn Wilson, Associate Director of the CHDS Executive Education Program. “I am confident Executive Shapiro and Mayor Horrigan are both aware of what matters most in times of crisis.”