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|Beckham tapped for homeland security post|
Butch Beckham of the Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office has been named Ouachita parish's new homeland security director.
The Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Council, comprised of Ouachita Council of Governments members, selected Beckham Monday during a special meeting.
Former Ouachita Parish homeland security director Dean Dozier resigned in September to seek other employment.
Since that time, Monroe Fire Department Chief Jimmie Bryant has served as the interim homeland security director.
Beckham was one of five candidates who sought the position. The others included Jacob Halley, Union Parish's assistant homeland security director; Jerre Hurst, Morehouse Parish's homeland security director; former West Monroe Police chief Larry Laborde; and Debbie Maroney, who is currently employed with the Ouachita Parish Homeland Security Office.
One of the tasks of the Ouachita Parish homeland security director is to coordinate evacuations of surrounding parishes when needed as well as disaster response efforts.
Following the attacks on the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001, the federal government required all state and local governments to rework their emergency plans to make them more compatible with federal guidelines.
Following the terrorists attacks, the federal government created the homeland security office to help prevent and disrupt future terrorist attacks.
Local and state agencies revamped their emergency plans to fit into the federal government's comprehensive homeland security management system. However, locally, the office of homeland security centers more on disaster mitigation such as hazardous chemical spills on the interstate or situations that arise during severe weather.