Feds boost homeland security funding for Nevada

CARSON CITY — Nevada has received a federal homeland security grant of $3.46 million, an increase over last year of nearly $700,000, the state Department of Public Safety said Tuesday.

The grant was awarded to the state Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

“I am pleased Nevada has been awarded this grant, with an increase,” Gov. Brian Sandoval said. “I thank Secretary (Janet) Napolitano for her work, and I thank NDEM for facilitating work around the state to ensure that these funds are applied to areas of importance that Nevada public safety officials deem critical.”

The additional funding is targeted toward ensuring the continuation of the Metropolitan Medical Response System and Citizen Corps programs. The Nevada Commission on Homeland Security, chaired by Sandoval, will meet Friday to determine how the funds will be allocated.

“Governor Sandoval worked diligently with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano to secure the additional funding to support DHS and state of Nevada priorities, and this is great news for the state of Nevada as we continue to work to achieve the National Preparedness Goal,” state emergency management chief Chris Smith said.

The Department of Homeland Security hands out grants to help states, local, tribal and territorial jurisdictions, and other regional authorities to prepare, prevent and respond to terrorist attacks and other disasters.

Historically, the funds are used to support initiatives such as Citizen Corps, Community Emergency Response Teams, information sharing, public safety radio compatibility, public information and warning, and first-responder training.

The increased funding came as good news for Nevada after officials announced in May that the Las Vegas metropolitan area itself did not make the cut to receive a separate category of federal counterterrorism funding.

As a result, local agencies will not get their own funding to support counterterrorism programs and preparedness — money that provided $1.8 million this fiscal year, which ends June 30.

The Department of Homeland Security had downgraded the region’s risk ranking, putting Las Vegas at 33rd nation­wide.

Only 25 metropolitan areas will receive funding through the Department of Homeland Security’s Urban Areas Security Initiatives Program.