Reporting Ed Mertz
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — City leaders and security officials assembled Tuesday for the opening of the first-ever national homeland security conference in downtown Los Angeles.
KNX 1070′s Ed Mertz reports outgoing Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was on hand to give the opening address at the National Homeland Security Conference (NHSC) — even as his successor has yet to nominate a local security point person.
More than 2,000 people were expected to take part in both the NHSC and the Counter-Terrorism Conference at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel, which the city is also hosting for the first time.
The 7th annual event is bringing together Homeland Security and emergency management professionals from the nation’s largest metropolitan areas. There is also a distinguished list of speakers, including Capt. Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger, the aviation safety expert and pilot who landed US Airways flight 1549 on the Hudson River, and Ret. Admiral Thad Allen of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Brad Burlingame, the brother of pilot Capt. Charles F. Burlingame III, who was aboard American flight 77 that crashed at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, was also scheduled to speak.
Villaraigosa, who serves as the President of the National Homeland Security Association, was joined by Los Angeles’ current deputy Mayor for Homeland Security, Eileen Decker.
Decker said the conference provides a great networking and intelligence-sharing opportunity for leaders who oversee safety at ports, transportation systems and other public venues across the nation.
“It’s important for homeland security officials to get together so they have an opportunity to speak to each other, learn from each other,” said Decker, who is set to leave office on July 1.
A spokesman for Mayor-Elect Eric Garcetti confirmed Decker’s successor had not yet been named.
As for potential threats against the Southland that keep her up at night, Decker said it’s all about collaboration.
“It’s about getting better, I think that’s what it’s really about,” she said. “All of us working together and getting better.”
The conference is scheduled to run through Friday, June 7.