Funding focused on first responder communications and 9-1-1
On Aug. 9, Gov. Ernie Fletcher announced the 2006 homeland security funding awards for local and state agencies. These awards focus on first responder communications equipment and infrastructure, mobile data computers and 9-1-1 equipment and infrastructure.
"Today’s announcement represents an investment in the safety of our commonwealth’s communities and families. This year’s grants focus on the areas of greatest need for our first responders and reward the highest scoring grant applications."
- Gov. Ernie Fletcher
On June 1, the administration announced that Kentucky received $26,935,831 in 2006 grant funds. Of this total, $14,385,100 was provided to the state as discretionary funds for local and state agencies.
“Today’s announcement represents an investment in the safety of our commonwealth’s communities and families,” said Gov. Fletcher. “This year’s grants focus on the areas of greatest need for our first responders and reward the highest scoring grant applications. This is evidenced by the fact that 69 percent of our discretionary dollars are going to support the emergency communications capabilities of our first responders. It is essential that these individuals have the resources and equipment they need to effectively serve and protect Kentucky.”
Local agencies will receive more than $6.47 million toward the purchase of mobile data computers for installation in first response vehicles. This total includes $3 million utilized from the Unified Criminal Justice Information System (UCJIS) program. Agencies will also receive or benefit from more than $4.97 million in communications infrastructure, equipment or upgrades to local 9-1-1 centers. Of this, $1.1 million is directed to the city of Louisville to advance the MetroSafe interoperable communications project.
Funding to state agencies designated to directly support the efforts of local responders include nearly $1.3 million for the state’s first responder training and exercise programs; $900,000 to promote the state’s Citizen Awareness and Outreach Program; and $1.3 million to continue vulnerability assessments of the state’s critical infrastructure through the Kentucky Community Preparedness Program. Additionally, the Kentucky State Police will receive $990,000 to complete the Mutual Aid project across Kentucky providing all First Responders with the ability to communicate, via voice communications, during an event by the end of 2006.
The state is also investing more than $1.4 million in upgrades for the Kentucky National Guard’s communications capabilities; $360,000 to support the commonwealth’s transportation security initiative; $137,800 in supplemental funding for the Metropolitan Medical Response System directed to support the Central Kentucky Blood Center; and more than $523,000 to enhance the capabilities of the Intelligence Fusion Center.
Between March 1 and May 1 of this year, 371 grant applications requesting more than $145 millionwere submitted to the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security. Beginning May 15, a group of more than 30 peer reviewers from the fields of law enforcement, fire, emergency medical services, emergency management, technology and the private sector scored each application. Peer reviewers were asked to review the applications to evaluate the anticipated effectiveness of the proposed solutions in addressing need and increasing the state’s preparedness capabilities to meet the state and national homeland security priorities. The panel ended their review on May 18.
Each local application that fell into either the first responder communications equipment and infrastructure, mobile data computers or 9-1-1 equipment and infrastructure categories was then grouped and sorted by the peer reviewers’ average scores. Any applications scoring below the average score were not funded. In the communications and mobile data computer categories, applications scoring more than one common standard deviation above the average received 30 percent of their request. Applications falling between the average score and that score at one standard deviation above the average received 20 percent of their request. Applications for 9-1-1 equipment scoring above the average score received 30 percent of their requests.
A recent SAFECOM report, which called highlighting communications interoperability and 9-1-1 the state’s most pressing needs among first responders, and the state’s homeland security strategy provided the cornerstone from which all local agency grant applications would be prioritized. As such, local grant applications requesting items outside of these groupings were not funded.
Other previously announced funds included in the state’s total funding of $26,935,831 are the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) grant for the city of Louisville ($8.52 million), the Metropolitan Medical Response System ($464,000), Citizen Corps Program
($303,974) and the Emergency Management Performance Grant