More funds
offered for
terror fight

The feds allocate almost
$7 million to the city and state,
but Honolulu will get it all

The federal government has allocated Honolulu and the state $6.87 million to prepare for terrorist attacks, U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie announced yesterday.

Under the terms of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Urban Areas Security Initiatives Grant Program, at least 80 percent of the funds must go to the city for equipment, planning, training, exercises and administrative costs to prepare for chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive attacks.

However, state Civil Defense Director Gen. Robert Lee decided that the city should get 100 percent of the grant, said Dolores Cook, state Civil Defense terrorism planner.

Said Abercrombie, "More often than not, the counties and cities are the first responders."

No more than 20 percent can be allocated to the state to provide direct assistance to the city in preventing, responding to and recovering from terrorist attacks.

Honolulu is one of 30 cities that qualified for the grant. The grant amount was determined by a formula that included population density.

"That was the easiest but not the best way to figure it," said Abercrombie, who noted that cities with no coastlines could qualify for more money than Hawaii, which is surrounded by ocean and numerous possible points of entry for terrorists.

While the grant has been awarded, the city still needs to apply for the money.

The city has applied for, but not yet received, 25 percent of the grant, said Doug Aton, Oahu Civil Defense administrator. He said the money will be used to make a risk-and-needs assessment and first-responder strategy to qualify for the rest of the grant. The first-responder strategy will determine how the rest of the grant will be allocated, he said.

Some agencies, like the Honolulu Police Department, have already spent millions of dollars on equipment and training to prepare for terrorist attacks. None of the grant money can be used for past expenditures, Aton said.

However, HPD has received other federal grants to help pay for some equipment purchases, said Maj. Susan Ballard, HPD Finance Division commander. She said the department is expecting a $500,000 grant to pay for the overtime the department used to increase security at key buildings and facilities during the Iraq war.

The federal government awarded the state and four companies more than $7 million in June to help fight potential terrorist threats at local ports.

Abercrombie said the state can potentially receive more federal money, as soon as lawmakers can agree on how much should be spent on port security.

"There is a real serious fight going on in the Congress right now," he said.


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