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Monday, December 14, 2015

Niagara County and the Lockport Police Department were the benefactors of $149,000 in Homeland Security funds, according to state and federal officials.

The local share of the $4.5 million in federal grants distributed statewide went to a joint LPD/NCSO tactical team and the Niagara County Emergency Management Office to support multiple homeland security efforts that include the strengthening anti-terrorism programs, the enhancement of emergency preparedness and the expansion of critical infrastructure protections.

"We know all too well the threat posed by terrorism and recent events have only further demonstrated the need for our first responders to have the resources to respond swiftly and effectively to emergency situations," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. "This administration remains committed to ensuring these brave men and women are fully prepared to keep New Yorkers safe in every corner of the state."

"As we continue to fight terrorism abroad and at home, local law enforcement should have every resource available to keep our communities safe," said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. "This critical funding will help our local law enforcement protect and prevent against terrorism throughout the state and I'll continue fighting for these federal resources to help New York law enforcement be prepared."

Funding for these programs was made available by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security through the State Homeland Security Program. The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services manages these programs in close coordination with local stakeholders.

The Tactical Team Grant Program enhances the ability of localities with tactical teams to respond to active shooter events and other counter terrorism missions. To ensure consistency statewide, strong emphasis is placed on the local teams' attainment and sustainment of the New York State standards for Tactical/SWAT Teams. Eligible applicants could apply for up to $100,000 per team to fund certain equipment, training, exercise, and planning costs that are consistent with the attainment and/or sustainment of these New York State standards. In addition to the $100,000 LPD/NCSO grant, other local funds were given to the North Tonawanda Police Department ($80,620) and the Erie County Sheriff's Office. ($100,000).

The Critical Infrastructure Grant Program is focused on enhancing security at government owned critical infrastructure sites, at special events, and at seasonal at-risk locations in New York State. To be eligible for funding, first responders must have a completed assessment of their capability to prevent and protect against attacks on the site. Up to $50,000 in grant funding is applied to mitigate vulnerabilities identified in the risk and capability assessments. Niagara County Emergency Management Office received $49,000 of the grant, while the Buffalo Police Department was granted $50,000 and Erie County Emergency Services got $42,474.

Congressman Brian Higgins, a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security said, "Protecting New Yorkers from constantly evolving security threats requires cutting-edge strategies. This federal funding from the Department of Homeland Security, including over $460,000 awarded to Erie and Niagara Counties, which border Canada, will go a long way towards providing local agencies and our brave first responders with the critical support and resources needed to keep New Yorkers safe."

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