OJP Press Release letterhead

Contact: Angela Harless
202-353-5516 - cell


     WASHINGTON, DC -- Nearly 700 first responders from across the country will participate in the Office of Justice Programsí (OJP) National Institute of Justice (NIJ) sponsored conference featuring the latest technologies developed to protect law enforcement, firefighters, and other emergency personnel for use in dangerous, large-scale emergency events that threaten the publicís safety. The Technologies for Public Safety in Critical Incident Response Conference and Exposition will provide a unique overview of the federal governmentís technology efforts to protect and support the response community and the public.

     "The Administrationís commitment to ensure public safety extends beyond the boundaries of conventional law enforcement," said OJP Assistant Attorney General Deborah J. Daniels. "First responders will see first-hand cutting edge technologies for the state and local response community and learn from each other how best to gain control of a disaster scene and keep the public safe."

     Ninety-five experts from within and outside the response community will focus on border transportation security, communications interoperability, recent trends in terrorist use of radio-controlled explosive devices and technologies for detecting and responding to weapons of mass destruction. More than 100 federal agencies and vendors will demonstrate the latest in public safety technologies, including bomb robots, hand-held language translators, the newest weapons and contraband detection technology, and training technology.

     "Technology alone cannot save lives," said NIJ Director Sarah V. Hart. "First responders need the right tools, knowledge, and training in order to save lives. This conference addresses common public safety needs so that responders can deal with major threats to lives and property, including terrorist attacks involving weapons designed to inflict widespread casualties."

     The Technologies for Public Safety in Critical Incident Response Conference and Exposition will be held September 23-25, 2003 at the Renaissance Grand Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri. The plenary session on September 24th will feature a live response television broadcast discussion on the Department of Homeland Security and its responsibility for ensuring that emergency response professionals are prepared for any situation. Two scenarios in the Emergency Preparedness Incident Command Simulation (EPiCS) demonstrations, an interactive, computer-based training tool, will be featured throughout the conference. The first scenario focuses on terrorists detonating a dirty bomb at an outdoor amphitheater. The second focuses on a gang that takes over a middle school, taking hostages, and shooting administrators, teachers and students.

     Other federal agency participants are the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, Department of Energy and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Conference cosponsors include the National Sheriffs Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the National Emergency Managers Association.

     The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership in developing the nationís capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP is headed by an Assistant Attorney General and comprises 5 component bureaus and 2 offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and the Office for Victims of Crime, as well as the Executive Office for Weed and Seed, and the Office of the Police Corps and Law Enforcement Education. Additional information about both OJP and NIJ is available on the OJP Website at www.ojp.usdoj.gov.