Call to Order and Roll Call
The4th meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection was held on Thursday, September 8, 2011, at 1:00 PM, in Room 154 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Tanya Pullin, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Jack Westwood, Co-Chair; Representative Tanya Pullin, Co-Chair; Senators Carroll Gibson, Vernie McGaha, Dennis Parrett, Tim Shaughnessy, Kathy W. Stein, Katie Kratz Stine, Mike Wilson, and Ken Winters; Representatives Royce W. Adams, Tom Burch, Dwight D. Butler, Mike Cherry, Larry Clark, Leslie Combs, Tim Couch, Ron Crimm, Myron Dossett, Bill Farmer, David Floyd, Martha Jane King, Jimmie Lee, Terry Mills, Rick G. Nelson, Tom Riner, Carl Rollins II, Sal Santoro, Rita Smart, John Tilley, Ben Waide, and Alecia Webb-Edgington.
Guests:† Bryant Stiles, Division Director, Kentucky Fire Commission (KFC); Brigadier General Lonnie Culver, Deputy Adjutant General, Kentucky National Guard (KYNG); Gene Kiser, Acting Executive Director, Mary Halmhuber, and Shelby Lawson, Kentucky Office of Homeland Security (KOHS).
Representative Crimm moved to approve the August minutes. Representative Webb-Edgington seconded the motion. The minutes were approved.
Representative Royce Adams read a resolution in memory and honor of Private First Class William F. Stehlin.† Senator Wilson moved to adopt the resolution, Representative Floyd seconded the motion, and the motion was adopted.
Firefighters in Kentucky
††††††††††† Bryant Stiles, Division Director for the KFC, gave a PowerPoint presentation on fire and rescue training.† Mr. Stiles discussed certification and funding opportunities for Kentuckyís fire service. He stated that the mission of the KFC is to strengthen, upgrade, and improve the fire service for the citizens and industry of the Commonwealth through standardized education, training, certification, communication, and distribution of funds. The headquarters for the KFC is located in Versailles at the Kentucky Community and Technical College Systems Headquarters.
††††††††††† Mr. Stiles stated that the fire commission services includes: an incentive program, state aid to volunteer departments, workers compensation insurance, funding to build training facilities and educational upgrades, hepatitis B shots for all firefighters, survivor benefits for families of fallen firefighters, paid expenses to send family members to the national memorial service held each year for line-of-duty deaths, a low interest loan program to low income fire departments, maintenance of training records and certification information for over 800 fire departments, acting as a coordinating agency in the Kentucky Emergency Operations Center, and working with the firefighter identification program.
††††††††††† Mr. Stiles discussed health and wellness issues and stated that the leading cause of death among firefighters is heart related. He briefed the committee on the Comprehensive Physical Aptitude Test (CPAT), a test to administer physical agility assessments initially and annually. Over 3,200 departments and firefighters have been tested. CPAT will be required as of 2013 to be employed as a career firefighter.
††††††††††† Mr. Stiles explained KFCís participation in the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC). IFSAC provides a third party review of capabilities and standards which includes both degree and certification programs. IFSAC also provides the fire service with a voluntary competency based evaluation and certification of respondersí knowledge and skills.
††††††††††† Mr. Stiles gave an update on the 14 regional offices located throughout the Commonwealth. The core mission of the KFCís Kentucky Fire and Rescue Training (KFRT) program is to provide mobile training facilities to Kentucky firefighters and rescue teams. Another mobile training facility is the driver simulator which holds three simulators inside it to train responders effectively how to reduce highway dangers. Mr. Stiles stated that the KFRT offers an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Fire Rescue Science Technology through the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS). This degree is accredited through IFSAC. KFRT also has educational programs to reduce highway crash fatalities and reduce farm related fatalities. Through KCTCS, the fire commission is also assisting KOHS with multiple projects to include: Citizen Emergency Response Teams Programs, the National Incident Management System, and the Homeland Security Training and Exercise Program.
††††††††††† Mr. Stiles stated that the most sophisticated and responsible first responders in the world are in the military. He stated that is a benefit of providing training at the Wendell Ford State Fire Training Academy because there are military responders from around the world who receive training there and the facility can provide some of the most advanced training. Training has also been provided at Fort Knox because of their fire brigade and at Fort Campbell because of their air medical units.
††††††††††† Mr. Stiles stated that there are four mobile command units strategically placed throughout the Commonwealth for responders to operate. One of the mobile command units was used during the flood in Western Kentucky to operate as an emergency operation center. A mobile history center is used to help fire departments recruit future fire fighters.
††††††††††† In response to a question from Senator Gibson regarding incentives to recruit emergency responders, Mr. Stiles stated that he will be able to address that better next year because an individual has just been hired to look into ideas from surrounding states and bring them before the General Assembly.
††††††††††† In response to a question from Representative Floyd, Mr. Stiles stated that getting a credential for international standards is totally a voluntary system.
Kentucky National Guard Deployments Since 9/11
Brigadier General Lonnie Culver, Deputy Adjutant General for the KYNG, gave a PowerPoint presentation on the 10th anniversary of the attack on America.† General Culver stated that since September 11, 2001, there have been 14,200† KYNG soldiers and airmen deployed in support of the global war on terror, the KYNG. As of today, the KYNG has 1,547 troops deployed worldwide, and some soldiers in the Kentucky Air National Guard who typically serve shorter deployments have been deployed over a dozen times.
Brigadier General Culver stated that future deployments may lessen for overseas deployments due to changing missions and requirements in Iraq and Afghanistan however, it will not eliminate them. He added that since September 11, 2001, the KYNG has performed 80,000 man days including service and rescue during Hurricane Katrina relief and the ice storm of 2009. Since September 11, 2001, the KYNG has lost 20 members.
††††††††††† In response to Brigadier General Culverís Power Point presentation and testimony, Chair Pullin expressed gratitude on behalf of the committee and the General Assembly for all the services rendered, sacrifices made, and dedication to our state and country by KYNG members.
Kentucky Office of Homeland Security Update and Legislative Priorities
Gene Kiser, Acting Executive Director for the KOHS, briefed the committee on the KOHSís update and legislative priorities. Along with his testimony, Mr. Kiser passed out several informational documents and pamphlets which are a part of the official record. Mr. Kiser stated that the KOHS office is located on the first floor of the new Transportation Cabinet building and consists of 15 staff members. One staff member is a state merit employee and the other 14 are federally funded time-limited employees. There are two vacancies now but with the funding reduced, now is not the right time to hire additional staff. Mr. Kiser described the office in four basic components to include: the Kentucky Intelligence Fusion Center, based on the 9/11 commissionís recommendation for a central location in each state for the gathering and sharing of intelligence of law enforcement agents; the Eyes and Ears on Kentucky which is an expanded neighborhood watch that goes to your entire community and state and has a free iPhone app;† an Active Intelligence Officer Liaison Program which provides training for those individuals designated by their departments; and a KOHS Exercise and Evaluation Program which provides realistic exercises for communities throughout the Commonwealth.
Mr. Kiser stated that KOHSís only legislative initiative is the executive order that gave the administration of the fusion center to the KOHS.
Mr. Kiser discussed outreach activities and stated that KOHS is in partnership with some of the area development districts to implement a citizen awareness campaign. The purpose of the campaign is an effort to ensure that every Kentuckian understands the need to make a plan, pack a family preparedness kit, and learn how to be informed during an emergency or disaster.
Mr. Kiser discussed the Citizen Core Program which has 2,100 Kentucky members. The members include: volunteers, police, community emergency response teams, medical reserve cores, and neighborhood watch and fire cores. Another activity includes the four Quick Series books which are the incident command systems, anti-terrorism, active shooter response, and Spanish for patrol officers. These books are †provided to first responders, school districts, and any interested person.
Mr. Kiser discussed the KOHS Grant Program and stated that the program has† 155 active projects being administered which cost an excess of $42 million. The FY11 KOHS Grant Program received 103 applications requesting a total of $28.8 million, however; KOHS took a 58 percent reduction in their funding and only has $4.1 million to distribute.
Mr. Kiser discussed the eWarrants Electronic System which is administered in conjunction with the Kentucky State Police, the Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts, and the Attorney Generalís Office. The eWarrent Systems is primarily for law enforcement.
Mr. Kiser discussed the State Law Enforcement Program which is a state funded program that provides body armor, duty weapons, patrol riffles, tazors, and ammunition to law enforcement officers. The funding from that is contingent from the sale of confiscated weapons.
In response to a question from Senator Parrett, Mr. Kiser stated that there will be a meeting on Monday, September 12, 2011, with General Heltzel to discuss the issue of duplicating trainings between KOHS and Emergency Management to ensure that there is no duplication.
In response to a question from Representative Floyd, Chair Pullin clarified that executive orders have been confirmed for the KOHS to maintain the fusion center but has not been put into statute by the General Assembly.
Chair Pullin noted that on September 15th, Dakota Meyer, a marine from Kentucky will be awarded a medal of honor. He is the 88th living Medal of Honor recipient. Also, at the end of September and beginning of October, the 150th anniversary of the Medal of Honor Convention will be held in Louisville, Kentucky. Chair Pullin encouraged members to attend some part of the convention.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned.