- The Washington Times - Friday, June 3, 2005

The city has received a draft of a written protocol for emergencies from the Homeland Security Department, requested after a May 11 incident in which D.C. officials were among the last to know that a private plane had breached restricted airspace, D.C. Deputy Mayor Edward D. Reiskin said yesterday.

Mr. Reiskin, in charge of public safety and justice, said the draft was received Thursday and that city officials will review it, then meet with federal officials “in short order.”

Mr. Reiskin said the new protocol details putting a second Metropolitan Police Department officer at Homeland Security’s operations center and placing an analyst or officer at the Transportation Security Administration.

The officers now will contact superiors at the police department. Then the department will contact the D.C. Emergency Management Agency, which will contact the mayor and other top city officials.

Barbara Childs-Pair, director of the city’s Emergency Management Agency, said recently that Homeland Security did not notify her May 11 that the White House, the Capitol and the Supreme Court were evacuated, as required by the old protocol.

The new protocol is a minor change to how the mayor is notified in the event of an emergency.

“We will work toward a consensus on what the protocol should be, then put it in place,” Mr. Reiskin said. “It is just a matter of looking at the changes that have been put into place and just making sure they meet all of the needs.”

Emergency protocols and procedures were established after the September 11 terrorist attacks, but officials acknowledge they still need to be refined.

Mr. Reiskin said city officials must still discuss with federal officials the detail about security clearance for the official to be placed at the TSA.

He also said the officer at the homeland security operations center works regular hours and that adding an officer most likely will not result in around-the-clock coverage.

Mr. Reiskin has said the officer assigned to the operations center now is getting “direct communication” from federal officials.

City officials said the officer was not inside the room in which officials were making decisions about evacuations May 11.

Mr. Reiskin has said the police officer who failed to adequately monitor a Federal Aviation Administration communication line was reassigned.

The city’s line to the agency was not operating that day. It would have let police know about the plane approaching downtown but would not have provided information about the evacuation of federal buildings, officials have said.


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