Homeland Security hands out communications grants

Seventeen local governments will receive $79.6 million in joint interoperable communications grants, the Homeland Security Department announced Thursday.

The funds are part of a joint program between the departments of Homeland Security and Justice to develop demonstration projects for equipment and technology to increase interoperability among fire, law enforcement and emergency medical service communities.

"The grants made in this process are intended to uncover solutions that will guide future communications equipment funding, so that all communities can meet an interoperability performance standard," said Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. "Providing funds that will help bring these technologies to the light of day directly supports Homeland Security's goals to make all of America safer."

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will run the grant process for Homeland Security, while the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services is overseeing Justice's participation. FEMA and Justice adopted collaborative efforts for a single competitive grant program to maximize the impact of funding for interoperable communications equipment. The maximum federal share for each award is $6 million.

"These grants will allow us to identify cutting-edge technologies that exist in the field. Because many variables need to be addressed, we need to develop options for communities in establishing standards so that they can best meet their communications needs," said Michael Brown, Homeland Security's undersecretary for emergency preparedness and response.

Recipients are:

  • Conway, Ark. ($2 million)

  • Rehoboth Beach, Del. ($2.4 million)

  • St. Clair County, Ill. ($6 million)

  • Woodbury County, Iowa ($5.9 million)

  • Worcester County, Md. ($5.6 million)

  • Monroe County, Mich. ($6 million)

  • Ramsey County, Minn. ($6 million)

  • Independence, Mo., ($5.4 million)

  • Lewis and Clark County, Mont. ($4.4 million)

  • Grafton County, N.H. ($2.1 million)

  • Erie County, N.Y. ($6 million)

  • Tulsa, Okla. ($846,000)

  • Westmoreland County, Pa. ($5.9 million)

  • Narragansett, R.I. ($3 million)

  • Charlottesville/Albermarle County/University of Virginia, Va. ($6 million)

  • Clallam County, Wash. ($5.7 million)

  • Harrison County, W.Va. ($5.6 million)

  • About the Author

    William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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