LOS ANGELES, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Yesterday (Monday), Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was joined by Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster and Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca to announce the 2010 Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) grant funding for the Los Angeles/Long Beach Urban Area (LA/LB UA). In fiscal year 2010, the LA/LB UA received $69,922,146 and is the largest recipient of the UASI funds in the State and the second largest in the nation.

“I have no higher duty than to guarantee the safety of the people of Los Angeles,” Mayor Villaraigosa said. “Here, in a hotbed of natural calamities and terrorist targets, we have a commitment to be perpetually on guard. Thanks to the UASI grants and our Long Beach and County partners, we have increased our capacity to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism and natural disasters.”

The UASI grant is the largest homeland security grant the City and region receive. Since 2003, the Los Angeles region has received over $400 million in UASI grants.

“These UASI funds are vital to Long Beach and the region in helping to prevent, detect, and respond to a terrorist attack,” said Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster. “If the L.A./Long Beach area were attacked, the results would be devastating and felt throughout the country. This funding is important in protecting our residents, our infrastructure and economy.”

The UASI grant program was first authorized by Congress in 2003 and is funded annually. Funding originates from the federal Department of Homeland Security and is passed through to the California Emergency Management Agency (CalEMA) and is then distributed. There are 64 federally designated urban areas throughout the nation that receive this funding.

The UASI program focuses on enhancing regional preparedness in major metropolitan areas. The UASI program directly supports expanding regional collaboration in the National Preparedness Guidelines and is intended to assist participating jurisdictions in developing integrated regional systems for prevention, protection, response, and recovery.

“Joint effort, prevention, response, and recovery is a solid and sensible way in protecting the citizens of Los Angeles County,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca.

The Los Angeles/Long Beach Urban Area is governed by two policy making bodies: the Approval Authority and the Working Group. The Approval Authority is an eleven member board who set the policy and determines how the money will be allocated throughout the region. They have ultimate authority over the direction of the UASI grant. The Approval Authority consists of the City of Los Angeles, City of Long Beach, and the County of Los Angeles.

The LA/LB UA is also governed by an 18 member Working Group. The Working Group is a multidisciplinary body whose primary mission is to guide the strategy and development process for grant allocation and distribution among emergency responders in the area.

The Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security and Public Safety serves as the administrative and fiscal agent for the UASI grants and manages the grant funds on behalf of the entire region. For the City of Los Angeles, the LAPD, LAFD, EMD, LAWA Police, Port Police, and DWP are represented on the various committees that determine the distribution of the UASI funds.

The LA/LB Urban Area was given a target allocation of $69,922,146. The State of California’s Emergency Management Agency (CalEMA) retains 20% of the award and administrative costs are approximately 5%. A total of $53,140,831 remained for the LA/LB Urban Area to distribute to projects.

The UASI funds were divided into four main investment categories:
1) Interoperable Communications Capabilities – 48%
2) Information Sharing, Collaboration Capabilities, and Law Enforcement Investigations – 19%
3) Protection of Critical Infrastructure, and Key Resources – 14%
4) Planning, Response, and Recovery – 19%

The money awarded will help to fund the following City projects:

• Joint Hazard Assessment Team and Joint Terrorism Task Force
• Fire Captain Position and JRIC Personnel
• Shared Resources Public Safety Portal and Network
• Automated License Plate Reader Systems
• Digital Forensic Lab Network with Centralized Server
• Los Angeles Regional Common Operational Picture Program (LARCOPP)
• Port of Los Angeles Crime Intelligence Analyst, Generator, and Satellite Radio Communications System
• Bomb Squad Kits, SWAT equipment, air support surveillance camera
• Area Wireless Reconnaissance & Evaluation (AWARE) equipment
• Regional Video Command System
• Emergency Management Mutual Aid and Assistance Training
• Regional Training Center Props and Equipment
• CBRNE, HazMat, WMD, DAC, TLO, and USAR Training
• Hydra Operations Exercises
• Patient Tracking System and MCI Trailers
• Community Emergency Response Training

Also in attendance at today’s press conference were: Sandy Jo MacArthur, Assistant Chief, LAPD; Millage Peaks, Chief, LAFD; James Featherstone, General Manager, EMD; George Centeno, Chief, LAWA PD; Reggie Harrison, Deputy City Manager, City of Long Beach; Jim McDonnell, Chief, Long Beach Police; Alan Patalano, Chief, Long Beach Fire Department; Deputy Chief Scott Poster, Los Angeles County Fire; Cathy Chidester, Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency Director; Tim Jackman, Los Angeles County Independent Police Chiefs Association President; and Alex Rodriguez, Los Angeles County Independent Fire Chiefs Association President.