Nixon defends need for state homeland security chief
MISSOURI NEWS HORIZON - JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Gov. Jay Nixon unveiled Missouri’s new homeland security director on Wednesday, insisting that the position is still a vital part of the state’s disaster prevention and response team.
Nixon named Chris Pickering, a veteran of state law enforcement, to replace retiring homeland security coordinator Paul Fennewald, who has held the position since 2005.
“Chris has demonstrated his commitment and capability to public safety throughout his 20-year career in law enforcement, and has shown he will be able to build on the fine work done by Paul Fennewald,” the governor said.
Pickering has previously served as the inspector general for the Missouri Department of Corrections and chief investigator in the Public Safety Division of the Missouri Attorney General’s office. He has been working in the homeland security office for a month now to help smooth the transition.
The new homeland security coordinator said his primary goal would be to maintain and build-upon relationships with regional and local law enforcement agencies.
“These relationships with our local partners are a key to our success,” Pickering said.
While taking questions from the press, Nixon defended having the positions of homeland security coordinator – a mandate from the federal government – saying the position helps facilitate more effective training and communication between law enforcement agencies.
“The threat still exist, it’s a dangerous world,” Nixon said, adding, “This position and the authority in it is a valuable part of the public safety, law enforcement response team.”