Kansas City and St. Louis are well-known for their fragmentation — and that extends to emergency services like police and fire departments. But emergency response officials note some positive developments, such as the development of an infrastructure to allow agencies to talk during an emergency. Second of two parts.
Interoperability allows emergency responders to talk to each other when emergency strikes. It has been a major component of Homeland Security, especially after 9/11 revealed failures in communication. Since 2005, $23.22 million has been spent in Missouri to upgrade radios, but the Joplin tornado showed that jurisdictions aren’t all on the same wave length. Part one of two parts.
In federal government terms, SAFER stands for Staffing Adequate Fire and Emergency Response. But does that U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant program necessarily make the country safer from terrorist attacks? Local fire officials say the money helps them deal with homeland security responsibilities that have been added since 9/11. Critics say this is just another example of lawmakers doling out scarce federal dollars for pet projects.
Kansas City and St. Louis have reaped millions of dollars in homeland security funding through the federal Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI). Kansas City’s allocation is on the chopping block as Congress looks to save money throughout the budget. The UASI debate highlights philosophical divides over how homeland security money should be spent. This is the first of an ongoing series examining homeland security spending in Missouri as the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaches.