TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Arizona will divvy up more than $28 million
in federal homeland security grants, most going to county
governments, with Pima County getting the largest chunk, Gov. Janet
Napolitano said Wednesday.
The governor said the federal money, provided to her office, is
being allocated among the state and 15 counties using a formula set
by Napolitano's statewide homeland security plan.
First responders - typically law enforcement and fire protection
- will be able to use the money to buy equipment like gas masks,
hazardous materials suits and vehicles, and to pay for new
communications capabilities, personnel and specialized training.
Napolitano said the infusion of $28 million "is a huge step
forward" in the homeland security effort.
"We looked at factors in allocating those moneys like
population, vulnerability, the presence of critical infrastructure
such as bridges, dams and utilities, and then proximity to the
border," the governor said.
It's the first time that border proximity "has been used as a
factor with which to weigh the distribution of homeland security
moneys," she said.
She cited another first: Pima County will receive the largest
individual share of any Arizona county, $3.2 million, versus $2.9
million for Maricopa County, to assist in homeland security
efforts.
"Maricopa's not real happy about it, either," the governor
deadpanned. "But it really makes sense when you step back and look
at it."
Including previous homeland security allocations to the counties
since 2001, the total allocated to Pima County is $6.5 million, she
said, while Maricopa County's total is $7.5 million.
The governor said the state's homeland security plan assigned
particular importance to the border because of the flow of people
and materials back and forth.
"And so that was added as a weighting factor to population,"
she said.
That meant all four border counties benefited, she said. Santa
Cruz County will receive $1,060,928; Yuma County $985,653; and
Cochise County $980,770.
The latter three, small-population counties, have major
responsibilities with respect to Arizona's security because they're
right at the border, where the state's ports of entry are located,
Napolitano said.
In all, the state is giving Arizona's counties $16.3 million of
the federal grant money. It will keep another $3.5 million to
establish a statewide, round-the-clock intelligence and information
analysis center, and will retain and use $3.8 million as an
overtime expenditures fund, Napolitano said.
In addition, $4.1 million will be awarded for training and
purchase of equipment for statewide law enforcement agencies, and
another $400,000 will be divided evenly among Phoenix, Tucson, Mesa
and Glendale.
That money will be used for Metropolitan Medical Rapid Response
teams that can respond statewide to large-scale medical
emergencies, and also for the purchase of hazardous materials
equipment.
"Homeland security is not just about terrorism," Napolitano
said. "Every expenditure, every dollar we spend in this arena has
multiple uses," whether in detecting a virus or in responding to a
disaster like a major forest fire.
"Any time you get a financial injection like this, it's
important to the community," said Pima County Supervisor Dan
Eckstrom.
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On the Net:
Governor's Office: http://www.governor.state.az.us/

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)