City of Atlanta losing UASI grants despite its high profile

Atlanta, Ga. -- April 26, 2013 -- The city of Atlanta is losing DHS grant money used to strengthen the city’s ability to protect against a terrorist attack. Despite being home to recent high profile events such as the NCAA’s Final Four, federal records show the amount of money allocated to Atlanta through urban area security grants has dropped from $13 million in 2010 to $5 million last year.

The city of Atlanta is losing DHS grant money used to strengthen the city’s ability to protect against a terrorist attack. Despite being home to recent high profile events such as the NCAA’s Final Four, federal records show the amount of money allocated to Atlanta through urban area security grants has dropped from $13 million in 2010 to $5 million last year.

“We’ve been grateful for the federal assistance we’ve received over the years and there’s no question it has helped expand our capabilities with additional equipment and training.
As a taxpayer-funded public agency, however, we understand budget constraints and the need to work with what we’ve got. We’ll continue to work diligently to ensure we have the resources necessary to keep our citizens safe.” said Carlos Campos, an APD spokesman told SIW staff.

Reports also show that the Georgia Emergency Management Agency’s (GEMA) grant money from DHS has also taken a cut, from $20 million in 2010 to $5 million last year.
“This is an era of tougher budgets. Some people have said we can’t continue at the same level. Hopefully we’ve built capabilities that won’t vanish the next day,” Stewart Verdery, former DHS administrator told WSBTV in Atlanta.

Federal funds have allowed the Atlanta Police Department the ability to purchase equipment, take training courses, and other equipment. Recent purchases include a dual-wheel truck, SWAT team command vehicle, computers, radio systems for foul weather gear, and an $181,000 robot to detect threats and bombs.

GEMA said that as a result of the cuts, it can now only maintain its equipment, but that it cannot make new investments.

“I think it needs to be more. Atlanta is an international city. (Terrorists) are looking for an international hit. They’re looking to send a message worldwide,” said representative David Scott (D-Atlanta).

DHS is planning to get end the urban area security grants program and create a new plan in 2014, but there is no guarantee Atlanta will receive funds from the new program.

Note: Cygnus Security Media Group will be hosting its 5th Secured Cities conference on November 14-15 in Baltimore, Md., and will be discussing issues such as UASI funding and urban video surveillance strategies. Sign up today at www.securedcities.com.

 

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