Security Grants Woefully Short

June 16, 2003
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GRAND RAPIDS — City commissioners Tuesday authorized agreements with state and federal funding agencies for a total of $356,400 in grants that will go toward terrorism defense planning and equipment.

The Homeland Security Department Office of Domestic Preparedness awarded the largest grant — $280,000 — for specialized equipment for first responders, including police and fire department, Regional Response Team and Medical Response System personnel.

The state of Michigan awarded a grant of $50,000 that will be used by city fire and police departments to outfit the Grand Rapids Regional Response Team.

The grant is on top of a $98,000 grant awarded earlier this year for start-up of the regional response team.

The third grant of $26,439 was awarded to the city by the state Emergency Management Division, also for planning activities related to WMD defense.

Mayor John Logie said $356,400 is woefully insufficient.

"It is so far below what this city and cities of our size and cities of all size need that it's almost a mockery, but I will not look a gift horse in the mouth."

He said every time the homeland security alert moves from yellow to orange, the city can expect to spend tens of thousands of dollars just to meet minimum defense demands.

Second Ward Commissioner Rick Tormala said some of the other mayors are talking about reevaluating their defense response strategy because every time the country goes to orange alert, their cities literally end up in red ink.

"I'm wondering if there's some things we do that could possibly be overkill and that maybe we could reassess what we're doing."

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