Small Town America: Post 9-11 Part Three

By: Ryan Dearbone
By: Ryan Dearbone

"With terrorism, you don't hear much about failed attempts or failed acts of terrorism. Its hard to measure whether or not money is actually working," said WKU professor, Solemein Kiatsapour.

Still, over the past few years, national and state governments have been handing out grants to communities throughout the country.

The purpose of the money is to make sure communities are prepared for terrorist attacks.

The state of Kentucky has received more than 26 million dollars in grant funding from the federal government this fiscal year.

Much of that money has gone to prevention training and equipment.

In recent years, Warren County has purchased items like search cameras, detection equipment, training software, and Haz-Mat suits with the money they've received.

Back in August 2006,Warren County received over $700,000 for First Responder equipment and distribution to other agencies.

Warren County Emergency Management director, Ronnie Pearson said the Hazardous Materials/ Weapons of Mass Destruction team also was just given $1 million in funding.

Cities like Leitchfield, Ky., and Morgantown, Ky., have also been recent recipients of state monies for Homeland Security.

"To get to the highest level takes money. The equipment is expensive. Training is intensive. We've been fortunate over the years to gather some dollars for our community, but its not enough yet," Pearson said.

Emergency Management usually gets a majority of its funding from national and state government.

Pearson says that other money comes directly from the areas served.

"That's about the only funding stream that's available for homeland security initiatives. The other costs of changing policies and procedures and exercising, a lot of that comes from out of local budgets."

Thousands of dollars are coming in annually to smaller communities in an effort to get everyone prepared for an act of terrorism.

Heritage Foundation Senior Official, James Carafano said no matter how much money is being given out, it'll never be enough.

"We have millions of responders in this country. We couldn't buy everything for everybody that everybody needs and maintain it 24-7/ 365, forever. There's never going to be enough resources."

"That equipment is expensive to keep up and not every small town community would be able to maintain the equipment let alone purchase it," Pearson agreed.

Carafano suggested that instead of "throwing money at the problem", we should find better ways of battling terrorism.

"Plan and coordinate with other communities, with other communities, with state responders, federal responders like building emergency operations centers, communications, training classes, education classes, things that help build systems where communities can help each other out. That makes sense."

Some experts say putting the focus on money can allow America to lose focus on the real issue.

"When you focus on getting the larger share of the funds necessary to combat terrorism, we begin to lose sight of where the more likely targets might be. That can be problematic," said Dr. Kiatsapour.

Pearson also mentioned that regional money is becoming the easiest way of getting homeland security funding.

He says receiving this money gives community officials a chance to get more "bang for their buck".

Want to know how Homeland Security Grants are being spent in our area?

Purchases with Homeland Security Grants
For 2006, Mobile Data Terminals have been the main purchase thus far.

Other recent purchases in past years have been:

  • Air Packs
  • Search Cameras
  • Haz-Mat Suits
  • Detection Equipment
  • Biological Equipment
  • Training Software
  • Radios

    To see Homeland Security Grant facts and figures for other counties and areas in our region click here.

    And to learn more about Homeland Security in South Central Kentucky and obtain other disaster-related information visit www.wcem.org.


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