Acquiring necessary funding also has been key in securing this Tier One risk target. The City of Los Angeles and the surrounding county receive funding from DHS Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) grants and its Infrastructure Protection Program (IPP), which is designed to strengthen the nation's ability to protect critical infrastructure facilities and systems. Two significant sources of IPP funding are: the Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP) to help protect critical infrastructure and the Port Security Grant Program (PGSP) to aid in the protection of critical port infrastructure. PGSP supplemental funds are also available to assist ports in enhancing risk management capabilities; increasing domain awareness; building capabilities to prevent, detect, respond to and recover from attacks involved improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other nonconventional weapons; and providing first responders with critical training and exercises.
In 2007, UASI funding totals for the Los Angeles/Long Beach area were $72.6 million. The greater Los Angeles Area (Los Angeles/Long Beach and Anaheim/Santa Ana UASI Areas) also received $4.3 million in IPP grants in 2007. Los Angeles/Long Beach area grants were $72.6 million. The greater Los Angeles Area (Los Angeles/Long Beach and Anaheim/Santa Ana UASI Areas) also received $4.3 million in IPP grants in 2007. Los Angeles/Long Beach received $14.7 million from PSGP plus an additional $8 million from a PSGP supplementary grant in 2007.
Getting funds to help pay for needed technology in order to fully safeguard the community is not as daunting as it might seem, says Sheila Darling, senior management analyst for the LAPD's Fiscal Operations Division. But it pays to pay attention.
"We meet regularly with the sheriff's office and all other public safety agencies to be sure we are effectively protecting all citizens within and outside the city," Darling says. "We compete for funds with other cities so we are always looking at the types of requests that receive funding. It seems that the DHS is looking for long-term programs that increase interoperability and information sharing with multi-agency benefits."
Closely scrutinizing the way funds are allocated has paid big dividends in the Los Angeles area. DHS funding has enabled Los Angeles to fund projects it may not have had the means to pay for otherwise. The result has been improved communications as well as a more secure community.DHS-funded projects
Capt. Eric Parra of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department's Emergency Operations Bureau says the department effectively utilizes its UASI funding by identifying specific technology needs and finding the most efficient way to pay for them. In addition to $2.5 million in UASI funds to enhance interoperability, other federal funding has supplied the region with portable hazmat identification laboratories and airplane-mounted radiation detection devices, which can inspect large events for the presence of radiation.
Some other projects at least partially funded by DHS grants include:
Communications: As in all major metropolitan areas, Los Angeles struggles with communications interoperability. To date, just $15 million of approximately $600 million spent on communications capabilities has been funded by DHS grants.
The LAPD also recently deployed Knowledge Computing's Coplink, which is tied in with 35 of the 43 public safety agencies in the Los Angeles region, says Darling. UASI funding provided $10 million toward achieving that communications goal.
Technology: UASI grants also partially paid for Remotec robots deployed on a $1 million bomb containment truck and Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) technology used on helicopters. And, UASI funding paid for a Logos Imaging System for radiological devices and IEDs.
CCTV: Deputy Chief Michael Downing is commanding officer of the LAPD's Counter-Terrorism and Criminal Intelligence Bureau. After returning from strategy sessions in London, England, where they have more than 80 percent of the world's CCTV cameras, he talks about the ongoing development of a CCTV camera network in Los Angeles.
Downing notes the department has dedicated $7.4 million over the last three years — of which $2.5 million came from grants — to establishing a regional video command center that will feed all CCTV content in the city to a central monitoring location. The center will incorporate existing public and privately owned cameras (shopping mall security cameras for example) as well as ones being planned for critical infrastructure locations. Plans are to add license plate recognition software to cameras in some locations. Although the project focuses on potential terrorism surveillance, Downing says the department will also rely on the system to monitor gang violence, weather events and other circumstances that threaten public safety.