Bill Scaggs on What is the Three I Corp.'?

By Staff
March 17, 2002
The "Three I Corporation" has been in the news lately engendering curiosity and questions about its purpose. Dr. Bill Scaggs, president of Three I's board of directors, met with The Meridian Star's editorial board to talk about the organization.
The Meridian Star: What is Three I?
Dr. Bill Scaggs: Three I Public Safety Corporation is a not-for-profit foundation established in 1997 to support public safety education and training. The original planning team included citizens, police, fire, EMS, public health and corrections professionals. Our vision was to create a regional public safety training institution. We got tax exempt status in June 2001.
The Star: What's the purpose of Three I?
Scaggs: The corporation exists to provide public safety education and training. We will operate a regional public safety training academy. We are aggressively looking for ways to bring more dollars for public safety training into Meridian and Lauderdale County.
Some grantors prefer using not-for-profit corporations rather than making grants directly to cities or counties.
The reason for this is simple. Public safety training crosses many silos of interest: police, fire, emergency response, corrections, public health, defense department and others. Local governments tend to compete with each other for local resources. Various state and federal agencies have separate agendas.
Agency neutral not-for-profits have a better chance of bridging the professional and political turf involved. And there is enormous intramural turf, such as police and fire, and significant extramural turf, such as city and county, involved in public safety training.
The Star: Why call the organization Three I?
Scaggs: We needed a name to use in seeking incorporation. Someone beat us to Public Safety Corporation. The words industry, intelligence and integrity were suggested as sound values for public safety, hence Three I Public Safety Corporation.
The Star: What is the Southeastern Transportation Safety Center the STSC?
Scaggs: With Mayor John Robert Smith's leadership, the city of Meridian successfully brokered a grant from the Federal Railroad Administration to create the STSC.
One of four centers in the nation, STSC will provide training for public agency emergency responders. Fire, rescue, law enforcement and EMS personnel from across the Southeast will be training in Meridian, as will local volunteer and professional responders.
The grantor chose to make the award to Three I PSC. The grant requires matching contributions of at least $350,000.
The Star: How will the $350,000 match be obtained?
Scaggs: Amtrak has donated equipment with estimated salvage value of $240,000. Railroads are an providing in-kind match of around $90,000. A number of national organizations have committed in-kind services.
The use of the Meridian police and fire training facility and the staff time of city employees in developing the grant proposal will be calculated as additional match. The estimate total of the match without the yet-to-be-calculated city match is $390,500.
The Star: How will the $350,000 grant be spent?
Scaggs: Phase 1 monies are budgeted for facilities and equipment, instructional equipment, administrative and operating expenses and program and instruction development.
The Operation Respond Institute, a national public safety planning organization, will coordinate development of facilities, direct STSC federal reporting and design the curriculum to be delivered in the in the implementation phase of the project. Meridian Community College will create the distance learning plan for STSC.