Friday, September 09, 2005
Chris Muir from Day by Day always nails it. Given everything that has happened in New Orleans, and considering the fact that they are in that infamous part of the United States that counts the day until they are hit by a hurricane on a yearly basis, I find it hard to believe that the relief efforts on a local and state level were so poor that FEMA had to be considered first responders.
Here in Los Angeles, you will find officers who look like U.S. Marines and have badges that say "Office of Public Safety." Most people write them off, because they think they're glorified security guards, but they provide the diplomatic security to virtually every politician in Los Angeles County. In fact, when there's a disaster, they hold down the fort and run the entire Office of Emergency Management for Los Angeles County.
The Office of Emergency Management (OEM) was established by Chapter 2.68 of the County Code with responsibility for organizing and directing the preparedness efforts of the Emergency Management Organization of Los Angeles County. OEM is the day-to-day Los Angeles County Operational Area coordinator for the entire geographic area of the county.
I'd be willing to bet that three people in the Los Angeles County OEM could have handled the entire New Orleans tragedy while munching on a bagel and tossing back some Aquafina. We have a lot to worry about here in Los Angeles; we have earthquakes that tear-down buildings and wreck freeways, riots that hold entire cities hostage, and various other disturbances that are written about in history books worldwide. I have absolutely no problem believing that our Office of Public Safety could handle it all, and do so with an expertise that would leave those who saw the events in the south breathless.
The good news? The Office of Public Safety is hiring officers.