Mayoral Strategies for Achieving Safety and Security in Cities
April 29, 2002
Meeting the challenges of the post-September 11th world was the focus of the Thursday morning session, April 18, at the International Summit on Terrorism.
District of Columbia Mayor Anthony A. Williams and Chief of Police Charles Ramsey
Washington D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams and Charles Ramsey, Chief of Police of the Washington Metropolitan Police Department, described their strategies for ensuring safety and security.
Welcoming the mayors to D.C., Mayor Williams noted that tourism is now stronger in his city, the just'concluded Cherry Bloom Festival having enjoyed record crowds this year. "Our city is open, but it is also a safe city," he said.
The mayor cited a recent CNN survey describing the District as "well prepared to respond to a terrorism threat" and ranking D.C. seventh among a list of top U.S. cities in terms of emergency planning. He noted the importance of citizen education for emergency preparedness, especially a recently'published new guide for families on emergency planning, available at washingtondc.gov.
Chief Ramsey noted the city's long history of dealing with protestssuch as the April 2000 International Monetary Fund meeting on the heels of the Seattle WTO, characterized by civil disobedience; protests at the January 2001 Presidential Inauguration; and a variety of recent and planned rallies and demonstrations.
Success in dealing with such events, he noted, depends upon 1) upfront planning; 2) information sharing; 3) citizen education; and 4) mutual coordination and sharing with surrounding governmental jurisdictions.
Reno Mayor Jeff Griffin and Deputy Chief Ondra Berry
Reno Mayor Jeff Griffin discussed his city's unique problems of special events as well as the typical law enforcement challenges faced by all cities. The relationship between the local and federal government is "always problematic," he noted. "I have recognized and routinely criticized this relationship," he said.
For example, in the U.S., "we have been the victims of a number of vague and unspecified warnings to the country, which are rarely specified in terms of geography," he noted. "My concern is that as much information as possible be given so that we can adequately inform our citizens. Otherwise, we are like the boy who cried wolf."
Mayor Griffin was positive about the creation of the COPS program in the mid 1990-s in which funding went to the cities. Funding for homeland defense, in contrast, he said is principally directed to governors of the states, which, in his view, is not a good idea.
"I am not pleased with the formula for homeland defense, not pleased with the threat advisory system, and I am concerned with the political aspects," he said. The mayor stated that there should be direct federal to city funding for homeland defense, with no cuts to the COPS program and to the Local Law Enforcement Block Grant (LLEBG).
Deputy Chief Ondra Berry is Director of Reno's new Office of Strategic Operations, in charge of Criminal Intelligence [in cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation,] Homeland Defense, and Special Events in Reno.
Deputy Chief Berry said, After the terrorist attacks of September 11, "The role of law enforcement will never be the same again. Now we must pay attention [not only to what is happening in our own community and country but also] to what is happening in the world."
He noted that the Reno Police Department has changed and enlarged its training, not only of every single officer but in terms of coordination with security personnel throughout the city. Training of first'line personnel and with medics and other health professionals has been increased, and more intelligence efforts are being made throughout the city. "We are talking regularly with people we never talked to before" in an effort to enhance security, he noted. Citizen education has been increased.
Deputy Chief Berry warned, "You cannot afford one incident," for if you have one such incident, it could destroy your city.
Ottawa Councillor Herb Kreling, Chair, Police Services Board
Councillor Herb Kreling of Ottawa described one of the effects of September 11th on his city, when the G7 Economic Summit meeting was relocated to Ottawa. He noted the three levels of policing in Ontariothe city, the Ontario Provincial Police, and the Royal Canadian Mounties. Ottawa has developed a command post through the Ottawa Chief of Police to coordinate policy.
He noted the challenge in policing now of balancing the "need to alert our residents without alarming them." Ottawa has a budget of $142 million [Canadian dollars] for policing, with budgetary responsibility with the provincial government rather than the central government. However, with the increased demands placed on the city for special events, it may be possible to receive ad hoc support as an exception to the Canadian constitution's restriction on central government to city funding, he stated.
Mayor Paco Moncayo, Quito, Ecuador
"In our Andean festivals, God used to be called upon for help. Now if something happens, the mayor is responsible," said Mayor Paco Moncayo G. of Quito. "This is what impels us as mayors to be leaders in security."
Quito has not been directly affected by September 11th but faces security issues directly related to narcotics traffic. A recent major change in Quito is that the administration of airports is now a municipal responsibility, with the newly'created Municipal Security Corporation now managing the airport. The city has also instituted a special tax in which all people in Quito pay, according to their economic ability, for security. And Quito was the first city in the country to put in a 911 system.
Japan Local Government Center: Mr. Naofumi Hida, Director
Mr. Naofumi Hida, Director of the Japan Local Government Center, outlined the functions of the police and central government in Japan. He particularly noted countermeasures taken by the city of Yokohama after September 11th, with regard to the safety of waterworks facilities, health personnel, and transportation, especially buses and subways. Yokohama has put in place a system for emergency response, which depends upon strong coordination and cooperation, a model program, which was of interest to the other Summit participants.