April 11, 2007

Experts to discuss homeland security, terrorism

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Two experts on terrorism will present a free symposium next week at Southern Illinois University Carbondale highlighting the current trends and the history of homeland security.

Mike Chamness and Brent Smith will discuss "Homeland Security in the Heartland: The Research and Practice of Homeland Security" at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 19 – the 12th anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City.

The discussion will take place in the atrium of the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center. SIUC's Center for the Study of Crime, Delinquency and Corrections is sponsoring the fourth annual Elmer and Carol Johnson Symposium.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich appointed Chamness, an SIUC graduate, as chair of the Illinois Terrorism Task Force in 2003. He is also the senior policy adviser to the director of Homeland Security in Illinois and to the director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, which Chamness directed from 1999 to 2003.

He will discuss "Homeland Security: The Illinois Model." Illinois is one of only eight states fully accredited by the Emergency Management Accreditation Program and was the first state to complete a new State Emergency Operations Center with a grant from the U. S. Department of Homeland Security.

Smith is the director of the Terrorism Research Center in Fulbright College, and a professor of sociology and criminal justice at the University of Arkansas. Since 1988, he has directed the American Terrorism Study, which maintains a statistical database and records of federal terrorism cases since 1980. Using grants from the National Institute of Justice, Smith is examining the spatial and temporal patterns of American terrorism.

The Dunn-Richmond center is at 150 E. Pleasant Hill Road in Carbondale.