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Changes in KELOLAND Since September 11

September 6, 2011, 6:03 PM by Peggy Moyer

Changes in KELOLAND Since September 11
SIOUX FALLS, SD - Millions of dollars have been spent over the past ten years to fight terrorism in KELOLAND. 

Before September 11, 2001, emergency responders in KELOLAND usually trained for events that were the result of a mishap. Minnehaha County's Emergency Manager says now, first responders are training for events that are a result of an intended consequence.

"Before it might have been the pipe broke. Now, it's the pipe broke because someone put a bomb in it," Minnehaha County Emergency Manager Lynn DeYoung said.

DeYoung says immediately following the September 11th attacks, federal grants from the Department of  Homeland Security became available for system upgrades and training.

A backup generator is an example of one piece of equipment purchased with Homeland Security dollars. State officials wanted to make sure everything they bought had a dual purpose.

"We knew right away that these dollars had to be used wisely so we took the dollars from Homeland Security and used them to purchase equipment that would better ourselves in the terrorism realm but then also better ourselves as far as fires, floods and those types of things. The Sioux Falls Police Department now has a fully operational bomb truck. The city and county have a multi-agency command center. We have an armored vehicle that we can use," DeYoung said.

One important change since 9-11 was the creation of an inter-operable communication plan. The system assures that all members of law enforcement are able to communicate with one another when several agencies are responding to the same incident.

Moyer: "How much safer is the country today than it was ten years ago?"

DeYoung: "You know, being on the front lines of it, I know we are a lot safer."

DeYoung says evidence of increased security measures can be seen everyday at airports, schools, government buildings and elsewhere.

On September 11, 2001, four airplanes were used in terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Flight #93 that went down in rural Pennsylvania.

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