HSD readies first-responder grants

The Homeland Security Department this afternoon unveiled a $600 million grants program for state and local first-responder agencies. The Office of Domestic Preparedness will administer the program, which will pay for risk and needs assessments, equipment, training, exercise support and technical assistance.

Homeland secretary Tom Ridge said in a statement that the funds 'will create new capabilities to protect us against terrorism, and it will integrate traditional security functions in a new and better way.'

Grant application forms were posted today at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/fundopps.htm. The deadline for applications is April 22. DHS said it would respond on April 29 and issue the funds three weeks later.

The administration has come under fire in recent weeks from congressional Democrats and several governors for not providing enough homeland security funds to cash-strapped states. In turn, the administration has said Congress reduced such funding.

(Updated March 10, 2003, 12:07 p.m.)

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