Capt. Mike Parker
[The White House] – On Tuesday, Sept. 24, the White House will honor local heroes who are “Champions of Change for Community Preparedness and Resilience.” The event will celebrate Americans who are preparing communities for disasters and helping them respond and recover, bringing members of the whole community together – private businesses, local government, community and faith-based organizations, and individual citizens – to make a difference.
As the President said in his 2013 Proclamation for National Preparedness Month, “Time and again, America faces crises that test our readiness and challenge our resolve – from natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods to shootings, cyber incidents, and even acts of terrorism. While my Administration is working tirelessly to avert national tragedies, it is every American’s responsibility to be prepared. By planning for emergencies, individuals can protect themselves and their families while also contributing to their communities’ resilience… ordinary Americans have stepped up in moments of trial and tragedy to perform real acts of heroism.”
In 2012, the cost of weather disasters alone exceeded $110 billion in the United States. Climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of events like storms, floods, heat waves and wildfires. In June the President released his Climate Action Plan which steps up our efforts to prepare the Nation for these impacts so we can better protect homes, businesses, and ways of life from severe weather. Also recognizing the need to increase the participation of individual citizens, businesses, and organizations, President Obama directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to launch a comprehensive campaign to build and sustain national preparedness among Americans of all backgrounds and ages, moving them from awareness to action. The Champions we will recognize have been leaders in this initiative.
The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals, businesses, and organizations doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities.
With the rapid advances in social media and instant communications, Captain Mike Parker saw the opportunity for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) to improve public safety through online partnering with the public, other policing agencies and emergency services. The LASD website was redesigned and LASD Nixle text and email messaging, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest were implemented. The LASD’s new 100+ community-based communications platforms have evolved into interagency crisis communications systems that partner with the public and news media to routinely improve community safety and reduce unnecessary fear. He and the newly formed eComm Unit of Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau (SHB) have also presented 8-16 hours of formal training to over 1000 personnel from 150 agencies including five foreign countries. He has published over 100 articles with an emphasis on communications, community policing and problem solving, and created a website to provide implementation information for other agencies. He is a 29-year veteran of the LASD, and Unit Commander of SHB since 2009.