Local & Regional
4:58 pm
Thu June 18, 2009

Big Homeland Security Grant

Tulsa, OK – The Tulsa metropolitan area will soon get $2,160,500 to enhance communications, planning and capabilities for fire, police and medical emergency agencies through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Urban Areas Security Initiative.

Sixty-two urban areas nationwide are eligible to receive funding through the program this fiscal year. Tulsa is one of only two cities added to the program this year.

"This is welcome news for the Tulsa area," said Mayor Kathy Taylor. "Police and Fire Departments, both in Tulsa and surrounding communities, are always seeking ways to improve their effectiveness. These federal funds will enable them to be more ready to deal with disasters of any kind."

"The Tulsa area's leadership in this area has helped us be added to this vital program," the mayor said.

The UASI program focuses on enhancing regional preparedness in major metropolitan areas. The UASI program directly supports the National Priority on expanding regional collaboration in the National Preparedness Guidelines and is intended to assist participating jurisdictions in developing integrated regional systems for prevention, protection, response, and recovery.

City of Tulsa Homeland Security Chief Dennis Beyer said that local law enforcement agencies, fire departments, the Emergency Medical Services Autority and other metro organizations formed a work group and committees as required by Homeland Security in order to secure UASI funding.

The work group must submit justification to show that funded projects comply with the priorities of the federal agency. Those priorities include enhancing communications, technical knowledge, equipment and programs to help communities be better prepared to deal with both natural disasters and things like terrorist attacks.

The actual distribution of funds will be later this summer, Beyer said. After the money is received, the local work group will have 45 days to obligate the funds to specific programs.

Twenty-five percent of the money is earmarked for law-enforcement projects aimed at terrorism prevention, including enhancing intelligence gathering and dissemination among appropriate government entities.