INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Indiana has received $44 million from the
federal government to help equip and prepare police, firefighters
and emergency medical workers to respond to terrorist attacks,
officials said Tuesday.
Over the next few weeks, the state will assess where the new
money from the Department of Homeland Security can best be spent to
support the state's anti-terrorism strategy, said Jonathan Swain, a
spokesman for Gov. Joe Kernan.
He said officials would determine what kind of equipment and
training is needed and which areas of the state are at the greatest
risk. Some of the areas considered would be ports on Lake Michigan
and sensitive installations, Swain said.
The state will also develop the criteria that communities must
meet before they can apply for grants to obtain a share of the
money, he said.
The new funding could be spent on training, radio or medical
equipment and other items first responders need, Swain said.
Since it was created last year, the Department of Homeland
Security has allocated more than $86 million to the state. That
includes $11.4 million and $30.2 million grants last year and the
new $44.4 million grant, according to the federal agency.
In addition, the city of Indianapolis will receive more than $10
million in the coming fiscal year to boost security in the Hoosier
capital.
Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said in a statement that
funding local first responders is central to the mission of
increasing America's preparedness.
The money will help emergency crews save lives by preventing
acts of terrorism and responding if one occurs, Ridge said.
In the past year, the Department of Homeland Security has
allocated or awarded $8 billion to help the nation's first
responders.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)