News Story


Ventura County Homeland Security Funds Cut
5/21/2011 9:37:00 AM



Ventura County's Homeland Security Funding Cut By 60%

Today, the Federal Emergency Management Agency released its FY11 Preparedness Grant allocations for local programs that enable first responders to prepare for acts of terrorism and natural hazards. Since 2001, the County of Ventura has received over $22 million to increase local response capabilities among all police fire, medical and emergency services agencies in the County. These funds have helped the County and cities acquire specialized equipment and fund training, planning and exercises focused on disaster preparedness. The Homeland Security, Urban Area Security, and Emergency Management Performance Grants are the three primary programs that help fund programs that otherwise have little to no alternative funding sources. Each grant program, except one, was cut significantly.

Collectively, Ventura County's Homeland Security grant funding was cut by more than 60 percent. Public safety programs and capabilities that will be significantly impacted by this include:
· Critical infrastructure protection;
· Intelligence gathering;
· Terrorism Liaison Officer Program;
· Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training for the community,
· Urban Search and Rescue Training for fire agencies;
· Hazardous Materials Technician Training for fire agencies;
· Emergency Operations Centers;
· Regional Catastrophic Planning; and,
· The 'Ready Ventura County' public education program.

'The 60 percent is going to be devastating. Over the last ten years, I have seen a very positive impact these funds have had on helping us to maintain and expand our response capabilities. We will have some very difficult decisions to make with how we invest the small amount of funding we will be getting this year,' said Susan Dueñas, Homeland Security Grant Program Administrator with the Ventura County Sheriff's Department Office of Emergency Services.

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the following statement regarding the cuts:

'The cuts to first responder grant programs will endanger progress made in state and local capabilities at a time when the threat of terrorism continues to test the Nation. These grants support vital programs that enable our first responders to successfully prevent, mitigate, and respond to terrorist attacks and major disasters. Our adversaries are dedicated to continuing to target our ports, mass transit systems, and cities. We need to ensure national capacity and resiliency by investing adequate levels in these essential programs.'

Administrator Preparing Release: Susan Dueñas, OES Program Administrator (805) 477-1589
Follow-up Contact: Susan Dueñas, OES Program Administrator (805) 477-1589
Approved By: Laura Hernandez, OES Assistant Director
Date of Release: May 19, 2011

Ventura County Sheriff's Department
800 N Victoria Ave
San Buenaventura, CA 93003

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 805-654-9511