Tolliver takes on new duty

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 9, 2003

WOODVILLE &045; In the past, county civil defense coordinators mostly responded to natural disasters, such as flooding, tornadoes or hurricanes.

But with today’s emphasis on homeland security, the role of the local civil defense coordinator is rapidly changing.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) recently recommended that counties appoint their civil defense coordinators to also serve as homeland security coordinators.

Email newsletter signup

Wilkinson County supervisors followed that advice, assigning that extra responsibility to Chancery Clerk Thomas Tolliver at its Monday meeting.

But for Tolliver &045; who performs those duties at no extra cost to taxpayers &045; the melding of homeland security and civil defense will soon require the attention of a full-time position.

&uot;The job (civil defense) has changed tremendously.

It’s really a complicated situation with all of the agencies involved now.

I can see a full-time person being required to take care of all the paperwork in the future,&uot; said Tolliver.

Tolliver recently attended a homeland security conference in Philadelphia and will travel to Raymond on May 6 for another workshop.

The seminars are sponsored by MEMA, which recently announced that it applied for $7.8 million in federal funds to be distributed among Mississippi counties to pay for assessments, equipment and training.

&uot;We won’t know until May 6 how that money will be divided &045; whether they will consider each county’s proximity to potential terrorist targets, or how they will do it,&uot; Tolliver said.

Counties are not only responsible for responding to local disasters, but may also be required to lend equipment or manpower to other areas during an emergency, Tolliver said.

&uot;We may be called on to respond to situations in Jackson or Baton Rouge,&uot; he said.

Tolliver also sees societal changes as a result of the terrorism threat and homeland secrity measures.

&uot;The way we do business and hold local events will change due to security concerns and liability issues.

Local law enforcement agencies will really have to step it up with their education and training.&uot;