One Year Later, Reflecting on the Role of Emergency Management in the Nation’s Capital

On January 6, 2021, the United States Capital was marched on by protesters that eventually overtook the building. A year later, EM Weekly sat down with the team on duty in the Washington DC EOC. We take a deep dive into what it is like to manage an event that the entire world is watching. 

Dr. Christopher Rodriguez is the Director of the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA). In this role, Dr. Rodriguez serves as the Homeland Security Advisor and State Coordinating Officer for the District of Columbia. He also is the State Administrative Agent for all homeland security federal grants awarded to the District and the National Capital Region which includes parts of Northern Virginia and Maryland. HSEMA is responsible for emergency planning, preparedness, response, and recovery for the City, including operations for a 24-hour emergency operations center and the District’s intelligence fusion center. Under Dr. Rodriguez’s leadership, HSEMA, in partnership with the Metropolitan Police Department and Mayor’s Office of Religious Affairs, launched the Interfaith Preparedness Advisory Group to improve preparedness and the resiliency of the District’s faith-based organizations for all types of hazards. Additionally, he has supported Mayor Muriel Bowser as Incident Commander for some of the District’s most complex, simultaneous emergency responses between COVID-19, First Amendment demonstrations, election security, the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and the 59th Presidential Inauguration.

Deputy Director: Carrie Speranza is a recognized emergency management and homeland security executive with 18 years of experience working in both the public and private sectors, including 5+ years leading an urban area “big city” emergency management program. Recognized for strong organizational leadership skills in various environments and industries, with the ability to influence stakeholders, peers, and partners. Led a strategic planning initiative that changed the District of Columbia’s emergency management and homeland security program, transforming the agency and its programs into a high-functioning, innovative, and cutting-edge organization. Demonstrated expertise in resolving critical problems and driving results that produce data relevant to organizational goals. Led the design and implementation of an industry trend-setting Performance and Data Office, responsible for analyzing key performance indicators and metrics, legislative requirements, accreditation requirements, and risk assessments. Appointed member of FEMA’s National Advisory Council. A peer-elected official on the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) Board of Directors from 2016-2020. IAEM-USA Region 3 Top 40 Under 40 recipient, 2021.

Chief of Staff: Jerica Shackelford (Bio to come)

As Chief of Staff, Ms. Shackelford oversees critical administration functions of DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) which includes the Finance, Human Resources, Grants, and IT bureaus. This role requires strategic leadership for the bureaus within the office, as well as coordination across all divisions in support of the agency’s strategic plan. As a member of the Senior Leadership team, Ms. Shackelford makes recommendations to HSEMA’s Director and Deputy Director; in this advisory role, she ensures the agency is industry leading and anticipatory in its initiatives. HSEMA serves as the State Administrative Agent (SAA) for the Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) which includes the Urban Area Strategy Initiative (UASI) program. Ms. Shackelford is a member of the region’s Homeland Security Executive Committee (HSEC), which helps jurisdictions anticipate and prepare for emergency situations that require regional coordination and response. The intent of regional coordination is to set direction, collect information on threats and opportunities, assess gaps, and determine how to focus resources to address risks. 

Dr. Christopher Rodriquez

Web – https://hsema.dc.gov/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/dcfireems
Facebook –https://www.facebook.com/HSEMADC

Todd De Voe


Website – https://toddtdevoe.com/
Website- www.crisis-cafe.com
Speak N Spark-https://bit.ly/3sTVUfr
LinkedIn – https://bit.ly/3sVHL1g


EM Weekly


Website – https://bit.ly/3jj5Itl
Twitter – https://bit.ly/31z8MeX
Facebook – https://bit.ly/3dMlbRP
LinkedIn – https://bit.ly/34mXyfz
YouTube – https://bit.ly/2FQDhWd


Sponsors

 The Readiness Lab-https://www.thereadinesslab.com/