Hudson police chief warns Y2K may hit infrastructure : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


QUOTE: Hudson police chief warns Y2K may hit infrastructure Officers must be prepared for possible blackouts, 911 shutdowns BY BETTY LIN-FISHER Beacon Journal staff writer KENT: Hudson Police Chief Jim Brown is worried about the Year 2000 bug, but not about internal computer problems. He's concerned about infrastructure problems that may result if computers shut down on Jan. 1. The Year 2000 bug, or Y2K, refers to a computer glitch which, if not fixed, could affect computers when the calendar year changes from 1999 to 2000. What will police do if there's no electricity on Jan. 1, causing traffic lights to go out or shutting down alarm and heating systems? Or if telephone systems quit, leaving 911 systems disabled? Brown, the president of the Summit County Police Chiefs Association, is making it his mission to raise awareness among law-enforcement agencies of potential Y2K-related problems. Most law-enforcement agencies haven't thought of the Y2K problem beyond their own computers, Brown said. "We have a tendency to wing things," he said. "Cops have taken on the menatlity, 'When it hits the fan, we'll deal with it,' That won't work," Brown insists. Agencies need to have contingency plans beyond "dusting off their disaster-plan manuals," he said. They should think about what they'd do if they can't get fuel to police or other emergency vehicles. He said that rather than staff police stations with skeleton crews on New Year's Eve, more personnel than on a normal holiday should be scheduled. Alternate ways of moving officers around the community -- like bicycles, golf carts and horses -- also should be considered. The chief has taken a leadership role after considerable research. Yesterday, he taught the second of three daylon seminars for area law-enforcement personnel at Kent State University. In May, he'll give four seminars for the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, and he's tentatively set to give five presentations throughout the country this spring for the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Brown also has offered to give overviews to any city administration interested in how to prepare for the potential problem. Thirty people attended yesterday's seminar. Seventeen went to January's. Police sergeants, detectives, dispatchers and some chiefs came from across the state, including Columbus, Dayton and Greater Cleveland. Springfield Township Police Chief Carl Blasdel said he wanted to find out more about potential problems so he, two officers and his secretary attended the seminar. "Originally I thought it was going to be just a computer problem, but I'm finding out more and more it's not," said Blasdel. "I want to know what we need to do as a community and police department." Cornelius Hudson, supervisor of plans and programs for the security forces at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, said he was sent to bring back ideas for Y2K plans. The base is a mini-community of its own, he said. Sgt. Ron Whitmer of the Gates Mills Police Department said it's helpful to hear ideas and perspectives from different departments. His department has begun some contingency planning for Y2K and had three people attend the seminar, he said. "I believe it's going to affect us in some way regardless. There has to be some sort of failure. On a massive level? I would hope not," Whitmer said. Brown said it's important to get people thinking about different scenarios. "I think it's important to alert people of possible problems, but it's also important not to develop a state of panic or chaos," he said. Brown said he doesn't think the Y2K problem is quite as serious as some doomsayers are predicting. "Fear is a good thing so long as you don't let it paralyze you. It allows you to prepare for it," he said. A law-enforcement agency can't be too prepared, he said. "We must prepare for the worst-case scenario and hope for something far less," he said. For example, if the electricity goes out, Brown said, police should have a game plan to get help from the community's service department to put stop lights at intersections and have officers direct traffic. Emergency shelters could be set up at schools for residents who have nowhere to go, he said. But those places need to be well-equipped with generators and suplies, he said. If phone lines go out, police should tell residents to try cell phones, then CB radios. But police need to be prepared if all of those systems are unavailable by having officers traveling around town or in mini-stations, he said. The list of potential problems and solutions goes on. If there's no need for the plans on Jan. 1, the effort is not wasted because the plans may be needed in the future, he said. Brown said his main concern is to get agencies thinking about how they will deal with problems and talking to neighboring departments about their plans. "We don't live in a vacuum. We need to get everybody on board. Everybody needs to be thinking on the same lines," he said. UNQUOTE.

-- Anon (, February 25, 1999


Hi Anon,

-- Duane (, February 26, 1999.

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