Santa Monica Accepts $800,000 Homeland Security Grant

Friday, 28 Mar 2014, 9:01:00 AM

Parimal M. Rohit

As part of a program to help major metropolitan cities and areas remain prepared with homeland security measures, Santa Monica has accepted a grant for $799,076 from the 2013 Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI).

Officially approved as part of the City Council’s consent calendar agenda at its Tuesday meeting, the grant money would, according to City staff, be used “to purchase equipment and training that supports regional homeland security goals.”

The funds were awarded to the City of Santa Monica’s police and fire departments in 2013 and were part of the UASI grant program through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“Funds were requested to purchase equipment and training that supports regional homeland security goals, specifically an automated license plate reading system for the Police Department, terrorism liaison officer training, hazardous material (HazMat) training and equipment, urban search and rescue (USAR) training and equipment and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) training and equipment for the Fire Department,” City staff stated.

Under the UASI program, the federal government assists major metropolitan areas maintain regional preparedness. Specifically, the UASI grant program was specifically designed to support “core” cities such as Los Angeles as well as its neighboring municipalities who share a border with the core city.

Santa Monica qualifies as a contiguous city under UASI’s guidelines, as it shares a border with Los Angeles on three sides.

“The UASI program directly supports the national priority of expanding regional collaboration within the national preparedness guidelines and is intended to assist participating jurisdictions in developing integrated regional systems for prevention, protection, response, and recovery from natural or man-made disasters,” City staff stated.

As part of the grant program, the UASI and Department of Homeland Security provide funding to the State of California, who in turn distributes the money to the core city. Once funding arrives to the core city, money is then distributed again to those cities that share a border with the core.

Since 2001, Santa Monica has received more than $4 million in no-match grant funds from the Dept. of Homeland Security.

“These funds have purchased necessary equipment, supplies, and training in direct support of overall regional goals to promote effective information gathering, sharing, and response to threats and/or acts of terrorism,” City staff stated.

Of the $799,076 grant, the Santa Monica Police Dept. would receive $47,000 to purchase automated license plate readers (ALPR).

“ALPR is utilized to capture images of all license plates that come into view of cameras and query criminal databases to compare the scanned license plates with those entered in the databases as stolen or wanted,” City staff stated.

The remainder of the grant – $752,076 – would be allocated to the Santa Monica Fire Department and, according to City staff, would fund “terrorism liaison officer training, hazardous material (HazMat) training and equipment, urban search and rescue training and equipment, chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive training and equipment, and funds to purchase training props and equipment which support regional homeland security goals.”

Council members unanimously approved the receipt of the grant funds.

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