Justice to study terrorism's impact at state, local levels

Amid controversy over the burden that homeland security expenses have imposed on state and local governments, the Justice Department announced plans for a survey of international crime and terrorism.

In a Federal Register notice today, the Office of Justice Programs asked for comments on its proposed survey of law enforcement administrators and investigators regarding international crime and terrorism.

"The survey will gather information about the impact of terrorism and other transnational crimes on jurisdictions across the country, including resource allocation, collaboration with other agencies, extent of activity and awareness of activity," according to the Federal Register notice.

Justice said it would use the survey results to advise the National Institute of Justice, federal law enforcement agencies, and state and local law enforcement agencies on how state and local jurisdictions are affected by terrorism and international crime.

State and local officials recently have complained that their budgets have been burdened by unreimbursed homeland security spending made in response to the federal government's Liberty Shield program, which the Homeland Security Department mounted last month as a result of the Iraq war.

Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-Iowa), speaking recently at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, joined a chorus of state officials when he said, "Our homeland security plan calls for $32 million, but right now we are getting $12 million" from the federal government.

The National Governors Association recently wrote to the majority and minority leadership of both houses of Congress defending states' performance in spending federal homeland security money, "given the complexity of the first responders grant program."

Citing a survey by the National Emergency Management Association, NGA said states have succeeded in obligating or spending more than three-quarters of all federal grant money for first responders that Washington issued in fiscal 1999, 2000 and 2001.

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