Naperville and Aurora Hold Joint Counterterrorism Workshop

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In 2017, Naperville and Aurora received a $1.3 million grant to aid counterterrorism efforts.

They recently put the first of those funds to use in a joint counterterrorism awareness workshop with the National Counterterrorism Center, the Department of Homeland Security, and the FBI.

“The big difference with this workshop is that we’re working with bigger agencies that have resources we don’t have,” said Mayor of Naperville Steve Chirico.

The focus of the workshop was to enhance response to a complex terrorist attack, like the 2015 Paris attacks or the Boston Marathon Bombing.

It will also help improve safety for big events, like Ribfest, The Last Fling, and the Naperville Half-Marathon, each of which has its own emergency plans.

“A workshop like this helps us look at our plans, best practices and find the adjustments we need to make to make sure we’re on top of those things,” said Naperville Police Chief Bob Marshall.

Eight to ten weeks after this workshop, Aurora and Naperville will receive a report that identifies safety gaps that could be better filled.

“We have our training staff here, they’re going to take the information from the workshop and build it into the in-service training that every police officer and police department employee goes through,” said Marshall.

This isn’t the first time that Aurora and Naperville have collaborated on public safety.

In 2009, the cities purchased a digital radio system for emergency services and use the same radio band. And in 2017, they merged governing boards for the 911 service.

The police departments have done some training together and they engage in mutual aid if necessary.

“I’m very proud we’re doing this together, these are two major cities that represent 350,000 residents. We will be called upon even if something happens in northern Illinois we will still be called upon,” said Chirico.

The $1.3 million counterterrorism grant was awarded to Naperville and Aurora by FEMA.

Naperville News 17’s Blane Erwin reports.