September 16, 2005

SIUC police officers assisting on Gulf Coast

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Three officers with Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Department of Public Safety are part of a statewide effort to assist police officers along the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast.

SIUC officers Sgt. Kenneth W. Sneed, Cpl. Gregory L. Sanders and officer Dennis Followell are joining another 145 officers today (Friday, Sept. 16) from Illinois in providing a "second wave" of law enforcement support known as "Task Force Illinois," to the region. The group is leaving from the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, and should arrive in Hammond, La., on Saturday, Sept. 17.

The University's police department is a member of the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System (ILEAS), a mutual aid system of departments throughout the state. Earlier this month, at the request of Louisiana officials, ILEAS sent 150 police officers to the Gulf Coast. The officers leaving today are replacing the first group of officers, who should return to Springfield Monday.

SIUC Public Safety Director Todd D. Sigler said the three officers are among approximately 12 on the force who volunteered for the assignment. The officers expect to be gone until around Oct. 1, he said.

"We are very honored to be able to assist the other law enforcement agencies in the Gulf region because many of those officers have been working around the clock with very little time off for themselves to take care of their own personal tragedies," Sigler said.

Sigler also notes the voluntary deployment is a "pretty substantial commitment" on the officers' part to rearrange their personal schedules.

In addition, SIUC's participation "speaks very well of the department and the level of training and expertise that is available in this department," Sigler said.

"It's also a commitment on the part of the people who remain here because they are going to be expected to fill in and plug the holes created by the people who are gone," he said.

Cost reimbursement through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, an interstate agreement, includes 14 days of deployment working 12-hour shifts, per diem, overtime, equipment costs, along with health monitoring and worker's compensation coverage.

Other university-affiliated law enforcement agencies sending officers include Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and the University of Illinois. For more information on the ILEAS program, go to

Serving others, and addressing social, health and economic development issues of importance to our region and the larger extended area covered by the Delta Regional Authority are among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.