Grants will allow Kentucky to build stronger communications infrastructure between state and local agencies
Frankfort, KY: Governor Ernie Fletcher’s office today announced that a majority of the $35 million dollars in Homeland Security grants will be put towards improving communications equipment for first responders and will bring Kentucky closer to having a statewide voice and date interoperable network.
“We are seizing an historic opportunity to make our first responders and our Commonwealth a safer place to live, work and raise families,” said Governor Fletcher. “The money spent on planning and assessments will not only make the state more prepared, it will also identify critical needs that will be funded by future grants.”
The letters awarding FY ’04 Homeland Security grants were mailed on Friday, September 10th. Details of individual grants will be forthcoming in the weeks ahead, as counties and cities file the necessary paperwork to accept the awards. Other areas of funding include community assessments and planning.
“A portion of the money will also go toward purchasing Hazmat decontamination and detection equipment,” noted Governor Fletcher.
In accordance with federal guidelines, 80% of the grant will go to local cities and counties. About 65% will be awarded to improve communications needs for first responders. The communications grants break down into two main categories--expanding and improving existing communication coverage areas, and building a state-wide data interoperability system. Approximately 7% of this year’s grant will be used to maintain or expand Hazmat response teams around the state while about 8% will be used for planning, assessments, and training.
“The percentages allocated closely track with the percentages we saw in the total grant application pool that was requested,” said Governor Fletcher.
The state will use its portion of the money largely to focus on building communications infrastructure that will eventually allow both state and local agencies to become interoperable. Additionally, monies will be used to fund equipment for the Kentucky State Police and for the Office of Homeland Security.