Terrorism preparedness funding cut - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Terrorism preparedness funding cut

(WMC-TV) – Shelby County Office of Preparedness director Bob Nations says his primary federal grant is gone.

"We went from $3.6M a year to $377,000 a year. This is going to have a traumatic impact."

District 11 loses Urban Area Security Initiative eligibility June 30.

That pays for terrorism and disaster equipment and training in six counties -- Crittenden, Desoto, Fayette, Lauderdale, Shelby, and Tipton -- across three states.

UASI helped when the Mississippi River flooded, when "sovereign citizens" murdered two West Memphis Police officers and when Doctor Randeep Mann bombed Dr. Trent Pierce's car.

"When people ask, 'Are you training, are you exercising? Well, we're not," Nations said.

Congress has scaled back grants a decade. By 2014, FEMA's new National Preparedness Grant takes over.

"It takes the federal government seven to 10 days to really get the wheels under their mechanisms," Nations said.

That was the case during Hurricane Katrina.

Nations says sheriff's deputies, police officers and fire fighters will take up the slack. "States don't have the assets to respond to the Boston-type events because that happens in local communities."

This area has the world's busiest cargo airport, sits on the New Madrid fault Line, and has several chemical plants.

Nations says preparation is priceless.

"It could be similar to what happened in Boston, it could be similar to what happened in 9/11, it could be ricin in an office building."

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly