On April 10, 2013, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley described a new strategic plan to handle “active shooter” events. Two of these incidents that occurred in Alabama were:
- March 10, 2009. Ten people were killed and numerous others were injured when a gunman went on a shooting spree in the small towns of Samson and Geneva. It started with the murder of his mother and four other family members after which he drove along randomly shooting folks sitting on their front porches. The spree ended when he killed himself after police trapped him in a metal products plant.
- July 17, 2012. A 44-year-old man walked into a bar in Tuscaloosa, AL and began shooting anyone in sight. He wounded 17 people before being apprehended.
- Strayer University - Bachelors of Science Degree in Criminal Justice
- Michigan State University - Online Master of Science in Criminal Justice
- Saint Joseph's University - Online Master of Science in Criminal Justice
- Norwich University Online - Master of Arts in International Relations Program - Online
Requirements for Becoming a Homeland Security Specialist in Alabama
A career as a homeland security specialist requires a bachelor’s degree in homeland security or a degree in another field and a graduate certificate in homeland security. Candidates for this position can also expect to be fingerprinted and to undergo an extensive background investigation.
There are three schools in Alabama that offer degrees in homeland security and an average of 97 students graduate with this major every year. Homeland security certificates can be earned at these schools or through a number of accredited online universities. Homeland security studies include courses in subjects like:
- Risk Assessment
- Crisis and emergency management
- Hazardous materials
- Intelligence analysis
- Consequence management
- Interagency issues
Homeland security specialists are hired by government agencies, private corporations and educational institutions. There are currently 14,760 homeland security professionals working in the state of Alabama. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, that number is expected to increase 10 percent, or to 16,350, by 2018. Homeland security specialists in Alabama earn annual salaries of between $15,933 and $36,899.
To inquire about openings and apply for a job with the Alabama DHS, go to the Alabama Department of Human Resources website and click on employment.
Duties and Responsibilities of a Homeland Security Specialist
Homeland security specialist jobs in Alabama involve developing and implementing plans and tactics designed to protect Alabamans and the state infrastructure from all types of emergencies and terrorist attacks. It requires working cooperatively with a wide range of government and civic groups, including FEMA, law enforcement agencies, firefighters, hospitals, the Red Cross, search and rescue teams, etc.
Alabama Department of Homeland Security
Passage of the Alabama Homeland Security Act of 2003 made Alabama the first U.S. state to legislatively form a cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The DHS works with federal and local government agencies, as well as community organizations, to develop ways to protect Alabama from terrorist threats/attacks and to both respond to and recover from any incidences that do occur. The Alabama DHS is divided into seven geographic regions and is comprised of four divisions:
- Borders, Ports and Transportation
- Science and Technology
- Information Management and Budget
- Emergency Preparedness and Response
The new “active shooter” strategic plan mentioned above was compiled by Spencer Collier, director of the Alabama DHS. It is intended to decrease a shooter’s chances of successfully carrying out his/her objective. It focuses on:
- Increasing law enforcement
- Educating the public through various means including a six-minute video titled “Run, Hide, Fight, which describes a shooting in an office building.
- Developing response strategies for all types of facilities, especially schools