5, 2008, in response to pressure from Congress,
NAPO and state and local leaders, the Department
of Homeland Security (DHS) announced plans to greatly reduce the
requirements usually attached to its counterterrorism grants.
For fiscal 2009, the department will give out approximately $3
billion dollars to states and localities to assist them in terrorism
the most significant changes made, DHS loosened rules to allow
recipients to spend up to 50 percent of homeland security grants
for personnel expenses, up from 25 percent, and removed the 25
percent local-match requirement for rail, transit and port security
NAPO testified twice in front of Congress
in the 110th Congress on the issue of federal support
for state and local law enforcement and the need to make federal
grant funds more user-friendly. NAPO called on the administration to give
state and local law enforcement the resources they need to prevent
terrorism and fight crime on the streets. For the past several
years, the federal government has been focusing on its own agenda
and not listening to the needs of its state and local partners.
This narrow viewpoint has resulted in drastic cuts in funding
to vital state and local law enforcement programs and a shift
in focus from fighting drugs, gangs and violent crime to terrorism
prevention. NAPO strongly believes that combating crime
and preventing terrorism are not mutually exclusive – they are
interrelated in the fight to protect the homeland and should not
be treated as separate issues.
a couple of years following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the creation
of the Department of Homeland Security in 2002, NAPO witnessed
steep declines in the funding levels for critical law enforcement
counterterrorism programs. By fiscal 2007, the three primary
DHS grant programs - the State Homeland Security Grant Program,
the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program, and the Urban
Area Security Initiative – had been slashed by almost 50 percent
from fiscal 2003 levels. Yet law enforcement’s role in homeland
security has not diminished along with the funding.
local police departments, already undermanned due to a lack of
resources to hire new officers, must place officers into Drug,
Gang and Terrorism Task Forces, as well as protect critical infrastructure
during periods of heightened national threat advisory levels,
often at the expense of street patrols. More often than not,
the funds most needed by local law enforcement agencies are those
that can be used to hire new officers, retain officers, and obtain
change in DHS policy, especially regarding the use of grant funds
for personnel use, will help lessen the strain on states and localities.
There will be fewer agencies having to choose between keeping
police officers on the street or maintaining equipment, systems
and supplies intended to respond to a terrorist attack.
is a positive step toward giving state and local law enforcement
the user-friendly tools it needs to protect our communities from
crime and terrorism. NAPO continues to work to ensure vital grant programs are
fully funded and that America’s law enforcement has the full support
of its government.
more information on the new DHS grant rules, please contact NAPO’s Director of Governmental Affairs, Andy Mournighan,