Criminal justice professionals are subjected to public scrutiny these days. Despite being overburdened already on any regular day, they are still the ones on the frontlines responding when critical events and natural disasters happen. This webinar delves into the impacts of natural disasters on the community and the agencies in charge of response and how to better prepare should it occur again.
This session’s discussion is led by:
- John T. Schultz, Master Corporal of the Florida Highway Patrol’s Traffic Homicide Advanced Investigation & Reconstruction Team
- Elizabeth A. Dunn, Co-Lead for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Higher Education Special Interest Group for Service-Learning and Leadership and Instructor at the University of South Florida (USF) College of Public Health
- Rebecca Morgenstern Brenner, Co-Lead for the FEMA Higher Education SIG for Service-Learning and Leadership and Lecturer at the Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy at Cornell University
Specifics covered include:
- Defining terminologies, the criminal justice professionals’ role in natural hazards and disasters, and the importance of awareness of a community’s vulnerability to natural hazards.
- A glimpse into the steadily increasing frequency of natural disasters, how these serve as threat multipliers to existing stresses in communities, and their economic impact.
- The challenges brought about by natural disasters to criminal justice professionals in terms of response, decision-making, and resource allocation.
- Examples of how natural disasters impacted the community and lessons learned that can be integrated into pre-planning, response, recovery, and mitigation.
- Winter storms in Texas
- Its multi-jurisdictional impact with power outages, food shortages, and deaths.
- How aging infrastructure prolonged the event’s effects on the community.
- Planning for compounding threats and thinking about building back better following these natural disasters.
- Taking into account how different sectors of the society can be impacted directly as well as indirectly and in the long run, post-event.
- The increasing West Coast Wildfires
- The complex problem of wildfires that requires an inter-disciplinary approach.
- Pre-planning that looks into housing density, water shortages, and droughts and how these cause and exacerbate the wildfires.
- Factors to take into account in terms of response, evacuation – of both humans and animals, and the possibility of shelter in place as an option.
- Challenges for probation and prison population during hurricanes.
- Ensuring that probationers, parolees, and prisoners remain safe from hurricanes while also securing that they do not pose a threat to the community.
- Planning and risk assessments required to securely evacuate a prison or jail.
- Instances when inmates were not evacuated properly and the public backlash.
- Staffing issues due to housing inaccessibility for personnel following a disaster.
- Evacuation and sheltering considerations amidst natural hazards that looks into:
- Community members’ reasons for not wanting to evacuate and concerns due to stress.
- Transportation options for evacuation and search and rescue.
- The nuances of sheltering like registration, capacity planning, security, etc.
- The teams’ well-being so they do not burn out.
- Pet-friendly sheltering options and the consequences of not having these in place.
- The Hazard Cycle and where to invest time, effort, and resources.
- The importance of planning, proactive inter-agency relationship building, and periodic updates to effectively manage, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the impact of natural disasters.
- Available tools and resources to help criminal justice agencies better handle extreme weather events.
- Points raised in the Q&A are about using the term extreme weather events versus climate change and the discipline or agency best positioned to take the lead in disaster planning.
- Winter storms in Texas
Other Webinars with These Presenters
- June 8: Extreme Weather Events: What Criminal Justice Professionals Need to Know (this webinar)
- Dec 7: Town and Gown: Partnering with Academic Organizations to Leverage Additional Resources
Resources and Handouts
- “I am currently involved with disaster preparedness within my agency. The information was valid and significant to the training I am involved with.” — Shannon
- “The amount of information all three presenters covered was fantastic and emphasized why preplanning is so crucial to preventing a natural hazard from becoming a disaster. …Natural Disasters are a great topic to discuss that doesn’t seem to be covered enough.” — Sarah-Alexandra
- “To think outside the box when it comes to weather disasters and how it may affect the transportation of offenders if evacuation routes are limited; how aging infrastructures can create a new problem; when shelter in place should be an option; and the potential barriers for our offenders under supervision, especially sex offenders, when it comes to finding shelter when potential dangerous weather is predicted.” — Cindy
- “Big picture. Seeing how all areas are affected by a natural disaster and suggestions on how to plan for it.” — Dannie
- “Identifying a list of issues that arise as part of the hazard events, by the persons in the field, to attempt to address by decision-makers, prior to placing an emergency event plan in place.” — Gabriel