Denton, TX -- The City of Las Cruces, New Mexico will be better prepared to respond to a terrorism incident after a counter-terrorism exercise being conducted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the New Mexico Office of Emergency Management (NM OEM) on September 4, 2001.
This joint effort will consist of a half-day training session followed by a tabletop exercise in which participants will discuss their response to a potential terrorism incident. Approximately 100 community leaders and local citizens will participate.
Traditionally, counter-terrorism training has occurred in the most highly populated cities in the nation, but FEMA Region VI has recognized that smaller cities also face a significant threat. "Terrorism is not just threats or actions from national or international groups. Terrorism can also be a localized threat, but still have devastating effects on a large number of people," said Ron Castleman, Regional Director, FEMA Region VI.
The FBI and NM OEM will participate in the exercise, alongside local officials. An important goal of the exercise is to improve communication among local leaders and first responders and strengthen their relationship with the state and federal agencies that have terrorism response duties.
"The City of Las Cruces, Dona Ana County area was selected for this exercise because it is the second most populated area in New Mexico, it is a state and international border area and because officials there have made significant counter-terrorism preparedness efforts to date," said Ernesto Rodriguez, Director, NM OEM.
FEMA Region VI will conduct these exercises throughout the five-state region of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. The Las Cruces exercise is the third of these five exercises.