Dear Representatives Demings and Bacon,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our support for H.R. 5615, the “Homeland Security Capabilities Preservation Act.”
Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, cities across the United States began receiving dedicated counterterrorism grant funding through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) grant program. This important program assists high-threat, high-density urban areas in efforts to build and sustain the capabilities necessary to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism. Since it was established, the UASI program provides financial assistance to address the planning, organization, equipment, training, and exercise needs of high-threat, high-density urban areas by providing assistant to build and sustain capabilities to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from threats or acts of terrorism.
Unfortunately, only 30 or so jurisdictions have been participating in the UASI program in recent years, which is about half the number of participating jurisdictions in FY 2011. Over the past few years, despite the rise in threats of terrorism, some at-risk jurisdictions have been dropped from the program.
Your legislation recognizes the evolving nature of terrorism threats and addresses the vulnerability of these at-risk areas, given that they no longer receive funds through the UASI program. As you know, the sudden loss of Federal funding for local jurisdictions to maintain core homeland security capabilities it critical. By directing DHS to submit a plan on how to make Federal assistance available to former UASI jurisdictions, which your legislation does, will undoubtedly save lives and prevent future acts of terrorism.
On behalf of the more than 364,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I am proud to offer our support for this legislation. If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in our Washington office.