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.