December 12, 2019


Division’s County Emergency Management Preparedness Assessment Initiative and Red Team Program Earn Top Recognitions

The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services today announced two of its initiatives have received awards from news organization Homeland Security Today. The Division’s County Emergency Preparedness Assessment initiative earned an Excellence in Outreach award at the state level, and the Division’s Red Team counter terrorism program received a Mission award. The publication annually recognizes outstanding contributions by individuals and organizations which support the mission of homeland security and national security.

“The Division and its employees work tirelessly to ensure the state’s residents and counties are prepared to protect against, respond to, and recover from disasters,” said Patrick Murphy, Commissioner of the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. “The programs being recognized by Homeland Security Today play a critical role in these efforts and have already produced tangible results since their inception. On behalf of all of our employees, we are honored to receive these awards and are thankful for the recognition of our incredible team’s great work.”

County Emergency Preparedness Assessment
To better understand emergency preparedness in New York State in a systematic, data-driven way, the Division developed the County Emergency Preparedness Assessment (CEPA). CEPA uses in-person workshops with local emergency management partners to assess a county’s risks, capabilities and potential need for support during disasters. CEPA helps state and local partners make informed decisions about how to further build and sustain their preparedness capabilities to address risks and potential resource gaps. The CEPA process involves continuous outreach to the state’s 58 counties and New York City to include planning and scheduling the meetings, facilitating the workshops, and sharing insights and findings from the data collected.

Each facilitated workshop is composed of county officials from emergency management, law enforcement, fire services, public health, transportation, environment conservation and numerous other local public safety organizations. Nonprofit agencies and private-sector partners participate as well to ensure a broad and inclusive perspective is included. Division staff engages more than 1,400 stakeholders and aggregates the data provided to identify statewide trends which can be used to inform grant investments, planning and programmatic decisions, and overall understanding of preparedness in New York.

Red Team Program
New York’s Red Team initiative was created in 2009 to counter terrorism and violent extremism through a unique two-phase approach by raising public awareness for suspicious activity and reporting. Operated by the Division’s Office of Counter Terrorism, staff engage in suspicious behavior at businesses and other facilities to test New York’s terrorism outreach and to see if and how the activity is reported to law enforcement. In 2019, members of Division staff collaborated with over 400 personnel from more than 100 different law enforcement agencies across the state to conduct outreach and testing to over 1,000 locations. During each exercise, counter terrorism experts from state and local agencies go undercover as customers and assess the ability of businesses to recognize and report suspicious activity. Teams assessed 175 hardware and agricultural stores, 112 truck rental locations, 93 drone retailers, 92 big box retailers, 79 self-storage facilities, 78 private shipping facilities, 74 hotels, and 24 gun and sporting goods stores, among others.

"Annually we receive numerous nominations from across the nation of extraordinary people doing tremendous work on behalf of their communities, their states, and their country, and we want to honor and recognize their contributions," said Kristina Tanasichuk, Executive Editor of Homeland Security Today and CEO of the Government Technology & Services Coalition. "We want to be sure that these selfless, incredibly hard-working individuals know that there are people who appreciate what they do and want to honor their work on behalf of all of us."

The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) provides leadership, coordination and support for efforts to prevent, protect against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from terrorism and other man-made and natural disasters, threats, fires and other emergencies. For more information, visit the DHSES Facebook page, follow @NYSDHSES on Twitter, or visit

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