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Georgia Receives $32.5 Million in Second Phase of Homeland Security Grants

Tuesday, September 23, 2003  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


Atlanta - Governor Sonny Perdue announced today that Georgia has received $32,568,000 to help fund anti-terrorism equipment and training on the state and local level. The planned allocation of these funds was announced in June. The funding represents approved projects in Part II of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Domestic Preparedness (ODP) grants. The grants will fund homeland security efforts for 169 local jurisdictions including fire departments, law enforcement agencies and hospitals.

"As we continue to reinforce our state's homeland security efforts, this grant money will be used to provide local first responders with the training and equipment they need to protect their communities from incidents involving Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)," said Governor Sonny Perdue. "We certainly extend our appreciation to President Bush, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and Georgia's Congressional delegation for their efforts in making this funding a reality."

Combined with $14,188,000 in Phase I ODP funding awarded in March, Georgia will have received a total of $46,756,000 for WMD response and prevention planning, equipment, and training, according to Georgia Homeland Security Director Bill Hitchens. "Since the grant agreement stipulates that recipients must respond to WMD incidents throughout the state, this funding will go a long way in helping us enhance our regional response capabilities."

Under the grant guidelines, 80 percent or $26,054,000 of the Phase II funding was passed through to local jurisdictions for training and equipment. The state portion of the funding was earmarked to establish three regional heavy Search and Rescue teams, improve interoperable public safety radio communications and enhance the state's ability to respond to bomb and other explosive material situations, as well as to provide local law enforcement access to a state-of-the-art investigative tool that will identify terrorists.

Georgia's eight regional "All-Hazards Councils" served as the focal point for this grant process. The councils assessed regional needs, requested grant proposals from the local governments in their region, then prioritized the applications. The proposals were then reviewed by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) before being sent to the federal Office of Domestic Preparedness for a final funding decision.

"This process underscores the fact that since local authorities are the first responders, it is important that they play a key role in determining what equipment and training is needed to do their jobs," said Hitchens.

For more information on homeland security efforts in Georgia, visit the Georgia Office of Homeland Security.