Grants & Funding

How Much Homeland Security Federal Funding Should New York City Receive?
By: Josh Filler on May 07, 2010
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NYPD bomb squad

[Photo: Mayor Michael Bloomberg visits with police officers from the New York Police Department Bomb Squad on May 5. Courtesy of Spencer T. Tucker/New York City.]

With the failed bombing in Times Square on Saturday, May 4, the issue of federal funding to support New York City's homeland security efforts has once again been raised in the news media. What is clear from the events in Times Square is that New York City remains at the top of the terror target list. With the distinction of being target No. 1 comes significant funding needs to enhance and maintain security. The question is: Is New York getting enough, and if not, how much federal funding assistance should the city get? The answer is complicated, but in short, the city likely needs more funding and the allowable uses of those funds should be re-examined as should the federal government's budgeting methods for such grant funds.

While New York is unique in terms of the level of risk it faces and its resulting security needs, it is also unique in several other respects. The size and density of the city (more than 8 million people spread across 305 square miles) and its agencies is simply unprecedented at the local and state level, which also helps drive costs up given the sheer magnitude of resources to be funded. The New York Police Department's roughly 34,500 officers is more than double the second largest department in the U.S. in Chicago, which has approximately 13,000 officers. Unlike any other major city, New York is actually comprised of five counties, which are more often referred to as boroughs with each borough a part of the city government. Cities such as Los Angeles, Houston and Chicago are part of a larger, independent single county — Los Angeles County, Cook County and Harris County respectively.

One of the great challenges in determining how much federal assistance New York and other localities and states need for homeland security is that the data available to make such decisions is limited. Shortly after 9/11, the White House Office of Homeland Security used a FEMA study to come up with the $3.5 billion annual national grant budget for states and localities. No one would argue the FEMA study was anything more than an educated guess, but it was the best available data at the time. However, to continue nine years later to follow the numbers it produced is indefensible.

Go to the Homeland Protection Zone blog to read the post, Does New York City Receive Enough in Homeland Security Grant Funds?


 

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