Emergency Operations Center becomes a reality

Emergency Operations Center becomes a reality South Dakota's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will take shape following the groundbreaking ceremony July 28 at the new site's location at the intersection of U.S. Highway 14 and S.D. Highway 1804 in Pierre.

According to Emergency Management Director Kristi Turman, "Our goal is to have a fully functional state emergency operations center by the spring of 2006, where we can provide a fully coordinated state response to an emergency incident of any size � whether it's a small event or a large disaster that affects multiple jurisdictions."

Turman said the current center is too small and not conducive to emergency coordination.

"This new EOC will allow key state officials to gather in one place to communicate with officials at the scene of the emergency and to make critical decisions concerning resource allocations and overall management of the incident."

The new South Dakota Crime Lab and Law Enforcement Training Center, a 151,000-square-foot building, will also house the State Forensic Lab, law enforcement training facilities, State Radio and administrative offices for the Division of Criminal Investigation and Attorney General.

During the 2004 South Dakota Legislative Session, Gov. Mike Rounds and South Dakota Legislatures authorized the construction of the EOC. Since that time, public safety officials have been working to make South Dakota's center a reality.

"We visited three EOCs in the Midwest to assist us in designing a center that suits South Dakotans' needs," said Public Safety Secretary Tom Dravland. "These communities were very helpful and were not afraid to tell us about the qualities they liked and disliked about their centers. We're confident we have found a design that best fits our needs," he said.

The building is scheduled to be completed by fall of 2005.

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