Photos by Kaelin Mendez
Pepperdine President Andrew K. Benton at the press conference.
Pepperdine announced a new initiative that merges the Los Angeles Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) into Pepperdine’s School of Public Policy at a press conference on Monday. The initiative has been titled the Homeland Security Advisory Council at the School of Public Policy.
“Logistically, what this means is a whole new set of educational and training programs for future public safety leaders, but [it is] also based on the terrific work that HSAC has done,” Pete Peterson, dean of Pepperdine’s School of Public Policy, said at the press conference.
The new enterprise will serve a largely educational purpose in Pepperdine’s School of Public Policy classes by utilizing HSAC’s assets and property for exploring cross-sector and information technology solutions to challenges in public policy.
“There just isn’t anything like this in academia,” Peterson said.
A feature of this initiative includes the transfer of all HSAC assets and intellectual property to Pepperdine. Acquiring its assets and property is a strategic step for Pepperdine to increase its role in crisis management, according to the event’s press release.
Peterson speaking at the press conference.
“As one who plans for the safety of our students, faculty and staff, I believe it is also important at our place of teaching and learning to support a growing field of knowledge and practice,” Pepperdine President Andrew K. Benton said.
HSAC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2002 and strives to create an all-sector network that enhance’s Los Angeles’ preparedness against large-scale disasters, according to its website.
“Our mission is to help the city of LA and the county of LA be prepared for any major incident that happens,” Peter Lowy, chairman of HSAC, said at the press conference. “And with that mission, what we’ve been able to do is create what I think is groundbreaking technology in bringing data that’s already available on the internet into one place.”
Part of the transfer includes the acquisition of SALUS, HSAC’s crisis and event management platform. SALUS uses geographic information systems (GIS) to streamline the data collection process. GIS allows crisis management programs to visualize information, such as patterns and relationships, and allows them to make informed decisions for emergency preparedness and handling of a crisis.
A demonstration of the SALUS platform.
“It is truly saving lives as far as we’re concerned here in the emergency management family,” said Aram Sahakian, general manager of the City of Los Angeles Emergency Management Department.
“My own experience in creating and building government technology companies makes me think that there’s just a tremendous opportunity here with SALUS,” Peterson said.
The talk of new opportunities did not stop with SALUS. Pepperdine’s unity with HSAC left many speakers discussing the future potential of the Los Angeles Homeland Security Council at the School of Public Policy.
“Where we are right now is we were limited [in] how far we could grow, how far we could go and we were limited [in] how much we could help the city,” Lowy said. “With this partnership with Pepperdine, I think the sky’s the limit.”