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Guest column: State Homeland Security goes high tech

March 3, 2012
By DEL. RANDY SWARTZMILLER , Weirton Daily Times

During the second regular session of the 80th Legislature the safety and security of our citizens has topped the to-do list. In an attempt to enhance tools available for West Virginians to aid in fighting crime, this week Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, along with West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Jimmy Gianato and West Virginia Intelligence Fusion Center Director Thom Kirk, together, announced the release of a new mobile phone app.

As Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security I commend and support the efforts of all involved in the creation of this free app which enables West Virginians to submit tips concerning suspicious criminal and terrorist activity. Through the implementation of the Suspicious Activity Reporting Application, citizens will have yet another avenue to connect with law enforcement and instantly report suspicious activity or crime, in turn giving law enforcement officials the ability to act quickly and effectively to keep the citizens of West Virginia safe.

I recently welcomed 4-H member and Oak Glen Middle School student Michaela Jones to Charleston for 4-H Day at the Capitol. Michaela was accompanied by her mother and father Joanne and Todd Jones of Chester. During Michaela's visit at the Capitol she had an opportunity to learn about different areas of the Capitol and state government. Michaela also served as a Legislative Page for the West Virginia House of Delegates during the legislative floor session. It's great to see our youth being involved in activities such as 4-H and showing an interest in our government at such a young age; they are the ones that will be our future leaders. Also representing 4-H Day, Carole Scheerbaum, Hancock County Extension Agent and Shelly Anderson, 4-H and Youth Program Assistant, stopped by my office and around the Capitol to make the hard work of 4-H members and administrators known.

Also this week during West Virginia History Day at the Legislature, Delegate Jones and I had the honor of accepting the prestigious History Hero Award on behalf of George Edward Livingston who was unable to attend. This award is a great honor and is only presented to a select few dedicated historians throughout the state each year. Livingston is a charter member of the Ebenezer Zane Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution and has made diligent efforts to honor Weirton's veterans. Livingston not only aided in the design and funding of Weirton's Veterans Memorial Park, but also led efforts to have the Revolutionary War memorial service in Weirton last year. It is important that we honor the sacrifices and lives of our veterans and George Livingston is a true West Virginia History Hero for his accomplishments in making sure our veterans are not forgotten. Many members of the Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center were present at the event including Dennis Jones, president; Bob and Lea Shirer; Andrea Anderson; Paul B. Zuros; Despina Melonas and Victor Greco.

I am always interested in hearing from my constituents; feel free to write to me at: Randy Swartzmiller, State Delegate, Room 203E, Building 1 State Capitol Complex Charleston, WV 25305 or call 304.340.3138.

(Swartzmiller is a member of the House of Delegates, representing the 1st District, including Hancock County and parts of Brooke County)

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