Purdue Polytechnic partners with Indiana Department of Homeland Security

Standing, from left: David Hosick, public information officer; Erin Rowe, director of Response and Recovery; Jeff Groh, chief operating officer; Eric Dietz, director of the Purdue Homeland Security Institute and professor in the Department of Computer and Information Technology; Jim Greeson, State Fire Marshal; Jonathan Whitham, general counsel; Chuck Emsweller, chief information officer. Seated, from left: Bryan Langley, executive director of Indiana Department of Homeland Security; Geanie Umberger, associate dean for the Purdue Polytechnic Institute’s Office of Engagement

Purdue University and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) entered into a formal agreement Tuesday (March 27) that will enhance student learning opportunities related to unmanned aviation, cybersecurity research and other areas that impact Hoosier safety.

Geanie Umberger, associate dean for the Purdue Polytechnic Institute’s Office of Engagement, and Bryan Langley, executive director of IDHS, signed a memo of understanding (MOU) today in Knoy Hall on the West Lafayette campus. The MOU formalizes the relationship between the Polytechnic and the state agency, and will result in future collaborations both in and out of the classroom related to emergency preparedness.

“This partnership will enable staff and faculty of Purdue Polytechnic to share our knowledge with Homeland Security,” said Umberger. “The topics we’ll assist them with are the Polytechnic’s areas of expertise. For example, faculty from our School of Aviation and Transportation Technology teach entire courses dedicated to unmanned flight technology, so it makes sense that the Polytechnic would be Homeland Security’s resource for determining statewide policies regarding flying drones.”

The IDHS partners with local, state and federal stakeholders to develop statewide strategic, operational and tactical plans for emergency response and recovery. In addition, the agency prepares Indiana communities for emergency situations by providing training and exercise opportunities to public safety officials and oversees Indiana’s building and fire codes.

“We’re proud to partner with Purdue and look forward to working efficiently and effectively with the Polytechnic,” Langley said. “We would like to leverage their robotics technology for search and rescue missions and incorporate drones to ascertain flood damage in outlying areas. We also look forward to providing our expertise and training to the cutting-edge curriculum of the Polytechnic. Together, we can prepare students with the latest technology and knowledge that will keep our citizens and properties safe and secure.”