The Department of Homeland Security Monday announced the expansion of a program aimed at enhancing the nation's ability to detect nuclear terrorism in Los Angeles and Long Beach, which include one of the busiest shipping basins in the nationa, and in the world.
The initiative includes a $1 million direct grant to local agencies and another $500,000 for training. The DHS Domestic Nuclear Detection Office will work with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's office to help law enforcement agencies and first responder organizations identify, prevent and respond to potential nuclear or radiological threats.
The announcement marks the first expansion of the Securing the Cities program since its inception in New York City in 2006. The money will go initially toward baseline nuclear detection, and reporting equipment and training.
``Countering chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats requires a coordinated, whole-of-government approach,'' Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said in a statement. ``The Securing the Cities program is a key component of the department's efforts to protect our nation by enhancing our ability to detect and interdict illicit radiological and nuclear weapons or materials in major metropolitan areas.''
Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Los Angeles, represents downtown and Southeast Los Angeles County, and helped secure the grant. She called the expansion of the program to the Southland ``a significant step to ensure that our police are equipped to respond to the most dangerous and challenging of threats to our communities.''
``The American people remain vulnerable to acts of terrorism. An extremist armed with a nuclear weapon in one of the nation's largest cities represents the ultimate nightmare scenario,'' Roybal-Allard said.
--City News Service