December 23, 2020

Public safety veteran James Remillard named Missouri State Emergency Management Agency Director

Department of Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten today named James W. Remillard as Director of the State Emergency Management Agency, effective immediately. Remillard, who has more than 30 years of law enforcement and emergency management experience, has been serving as SEMA Acting Director since April 1, 2020. Prior to that he was SEMA Deputy Director.

“As Missouri has faced an unprecedented public health and emergency management crisis in 2020, Jim Remillard’s vast experience, strong leadership, and calm demeanor have been essential to both SEMA’s outstanding responsiveness and the work we’ve done across state government,” Governor Mike Parson said. “His work on the coronavirus response builds upon his previous experience with disaster response, supporting Missouri communities, and strengthening coordination with our response partners.”

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, Jim Remillard has been providing critically important leadership on everything from acquiring and distributing PPE and vastly expanding the Missouri Disaster Medical Assistance Team (MO DMAT-1) to working directly with vulnerable populations to support their needs,” Director Karsten said. “Jim has done a tremendous job dealing with a disaster unlike anything we’ve faced before, and capably pulled our SEMA team and others together to get the job done.” 

Under Remillard’s leadership of SEMA during the coronavirus pandemic, the agency’s response activities have included:

  • More than doubling the size of MO DMAT-1, from 163 members to more than 440. DMAT has provided staffing to perform over 200 medical missions and 240 logistical missions.
  • Ordering more than $62 million worth of personal protective equipment and distributing nine rounds of PPE to fire service and law enforcement agencies.
  • Shipping more than 263,000 cases with millions of pieces of PPE to health care providers.
  • Supplying more than 8.6 million cloth masks and more than 233,000 rapid antigen tests to Missouri elementary and secondary schools.
  • Processing more than 790 federal disaster assistance applications from local jurisdictions and providing technical assistance to ensure obligation for over $100 million in disaster reimbursements for more than 100 local projects. 

Remillard began his public service career as a member of the Missouri State Highway Patrol in 1990, rising to the rank of Captain and commander of the Patrol’s Troop I in June 2014. During his Patrol career he coordinated response to disasters with local police, fire, EMS and emergency managers. His responsibilities included developing a statewide Patrol Hazardous Exposure Control Plan and responding to flooding and severe storms, including the 2011 Joplin tornado.

Remillard also served as a Highway Patrol SWAT team medic from 1992 to 2002 and was a volunteer firefighter with the Washington Fire Department from 1982 to 1989. His recognitions include the Honorary Washington (Mo.) Firefighter Award of Merit for his life-saving actions to save a family from floodwaters in 2007. Remillard retired from the Patrol in 2019 and joined SEMA as Deputy Director on June 1, 2019. He is a native of Washington, Mo.  


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