Homeland security grants awarded

KINGMAN ­ Three counties are about to be handed over $1.7 million dollars from the federal government for homeland security development. Those being awarded the grants had to prove the value their project would have in protecting residents in case of an emergency.

Applications for these grants were first submitted to the committee to determine whether they are qualified. Similar to a beauty pageant, the committee then votes on the presentations for the proposed projects on a grading scale. The grades are then compared to narrow it down to the ones they feel are most deserving of the limited funds.

The letters stating who is receiving the money are set to go out in the next few weeks. Soon after, they will be able use the money.

Last year, the committee received $2,753,486 to disperse. This year they only received $1,744,780, nearly 1 million less, a 39 percent decrease in federal funds.

The Western Region Advisory Council is made up of La Paz, Yavapai and Mohave Counties. Members are appointed by the governor and are comprised of one supervisor, one sheriff, one metro police chief or assistant, one rural police chief or assistant, one metro fire chief or assistant, one rural fire chief or assistant, one county emergency manager, one tribal representative and two members-at-large.

District 1 Supervisor Pete Byers is the supervisor chosen to represent the three counties.

These members are responsible for weeding out applicants that they deem are not qualified for the grant and then listening to presentations on the proposed ideas to determine the most deserving of the grant money, Byers said.

This year the Kingman Police Department and Fire Department are being given $168,744 to purchase a mobile command vehicle. This vehicle will help enhance communication through radio, telephones and cell phones during the time of a major emergency.

The Mohave County Sheriff's Office is receiving $105,048 to develop a multi-agency emergency response plan and to expand existing plans. The money will also go to fund a public education campaign.

The Mohave County Emergency Manager is being granted $140,064 to install a microwave link between Kingman and Lake Havasu at Upper Goat Hill.

They are also being granted an additional $56,551 to provide fresh, drinkable water to citizens of the region during a time of emergency.

The Western Region Advisory Council will start talks of next year's grants in the fall.