Homeland Security

Change Threat vs. Population Based On Funding Formulas

Proposal

Border area communities must be classified as a separate threat risk zone when considering funding formulas for Targeted Infrastructure Capability grants. It serves to: 1) Recognize the threats to the homeland because of our proximity to other countries. 2) Places us in a better position to be considered for funding the mitigation of these threats. A separate threat assessment for border communities would accurately depict our vulnerabilities and the resources needed to strengthen our readiness level.

Background

Currently the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) formula for Targeted Infrastructure Capability grants is awarded based primarily on the population of a metropolitan area. Grants such as the Urban Area Strategic Initiative (UASI) or Port Security awards are out of Laredo's reach because the population minimum does not meet grant criteria. While funding is typically distributed based on population and regardless of threat assessments, unique situations such as international border proximity, must be considered.

 

As first responders in a community located on the US/Mexico Border, we face many unique challenges. Examples of these are the enormous amounts of commercial traffic that travels, on our streets and crosses our four international bridges as a result of being the nation's largest inland port. Daily we face the possibility of chemical spill or hazardous materials release into our environment. Other examples we face as frontline emergency responders are:

  1. We are the primary responders to incidents on the Rio Grande River.
  2. We are the primary responders to bomb threats reported at our four international bridges.
  3. Each year the number of emergency calls we make increase due to an ever increasing population.
  4. The ever present threat of an outbreak as 15,000 visitors crosses into our community every day.
  5. Increased drug related violence in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico that increases the threat of narco related violence into our city.

Access to federal funding is essential to manage these threats efficiently and safely and to remain prepared for any number of emergencies that endanger our community.

Contact

Steve Landin
Fire Chief
616 E. Del Mar Blvd.
Laredo, TX 78045
Phone: (956) 718-6020
Fax: (956) 728-7119
Email: slandin@ci.laredo.tx.us