Severe weather season is just beginning. NewsChannel 11 and the National Weather Service track storms and alert views to danger, but it's the city emergency management coordinator that protects Lubbock in case of weather or other disasters and now we're seeing a change in that department. NewsChannel 11's Jennifer Vogel spoke with Ken Olson, who has been in charge of emergency management for 13 years.
Olson is in charge of coordinating all agencies during times of need; like Lubbock's effort to care for hurricane evacuees. NewsChannel 11 has now learned that Olson is retiring and is being replaced by someone with experience in Lubbock emergencies.
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Severe weather is a familiar site this time of year in the South Plains. Ken Olson says, "Obviously there's nothing we can do to prevent severe weather what we have to do is be prepared." But this year, the city is preparing with a new method. "It's time for someone fresh to come in, take a look at it and see what we're doing and what we could do better."
Enter Kevin Overstreet. He's served with the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office for seven years but now he's turning in his captain badge for the title "Emergency Operations Coordinator" for the City of Lubbock. Kevin says, "We're moving into a whole new area of emergency management than we were 20 years ago and there's a lot going on in this world."
Hurricanes Rita and Katrina showed exactly how one event could effect so many, even right here in Lubbock. Overstreet says it's disasters like those that pave the way to successful city planning, and it's a plan he expects to continue. "I have the ability to communicate with all department directors and you have to have to have that continuity to be successful and be able to protect citizens of Lubbock county and Lubbock, and I feel like I am able to do that."
Kevin Overstreet will leave the sheriff's department this Friday, and start with the city on Monday. Ken Olson will stay on through severe weather season and help train Overstreet through July.
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