Sedgwick Co., Kansas, Lands Funds for Security Equipment

Up to $100,000 of new security equipment will go to two Sedgwick County sites because of a U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant.

The grant, which is being offered for the first time, allows officials to purchase security equipment such as portable radios, radiological detectors, thermal imaging cameras and mapping software.

Overall, Kansas received $1 million, of which Sedgwick County gets $50,000 each for the Kansas Coliseum, north of Wichita, and Basic Chemical, formerly Vulcan Chemicals, 6200 S. Ridge Road.

"The equipment will help the whole county, as far as emergency management planning, as well as protecting our environment and citizens in the area," said Eugene Thomas, plant manager for Basic Chemical.

The grant allows Sedgwick County's purchasing officials to be reimbursed for buying the new equipment for the two sites, which were selected by the Department of Homeland Security.

Officials wouldn't elaborate on the other sites considered because of security reasons.

"It's a very straightforward concept," said Randy Duncan, the county's director of emergency management, about the grant.

Its purpose, he said, is "to provide buffers around certain facilities" to protect them.

Duncan said it is unknown when the equipment will be installed, although the deadline for orders is March 2006.

Kansas Highway Patrol Captain Mark Bruce, who oversees grant funding from the federal government, said Kansas' award was larger compared with other states of similar size and demographics that also received funding.

(c) 2005 Associated Press