Homeland Security Grant Not Given to WNY

BUFFALO, NY - Millions of dollars in federal funding that should go to keeping us safe, does not appear to be coming to the Western New York region.

This has federal and local officials upset and demanding that the money be restored.

"It's about making sure when there's a standoff in the Town of Boston, those tactical teams that respond are continuously trained at the latest tactics, it's about having blizzards and having the ability to communicate," said Dan Neaverth, Jr. the commissioner of Erie County Management Services.

Pick any incident that law enforcement are involved in and chances are there's a federal or state grant that's allowing first responders to do their jobs.

"It's about sustainment, it's not about buying new toys," Neaverth added.

Every year police agencies in the Buffalo-Niagara region, along with other urban areas across the country, rely on funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. And this year, WNY is not on the list of areas to get millions of dollars in financial help.

"It is sad when you think of the potential targets that do exist across this country that the powers that be supposedly have decided that this is an area that does not need to be included," said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.

With international border crossings, officials think the region should be included.

"Because of the risk factor in our region as has been cited previously, there's no good reason for this other than a lack of funding," said Congressman Brian Higgins.

To save money, the Department of Homeland Security has dropped the number of cities that can get the security funding.

From 64 in 2010 to 31 in 2012 and 25 the following year.

This year, there's a little bit of a boost -- 39 regions will get the security funding. It's up to elected officials to fight to restore the funding here.

Higgins says he has requests into the White House and DHS to try to get the security funding. Another example of why officials think the region should get the grant is because in 2003, the Lackawanna 6 were convicted after receiving terrorist training.


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