Long Beach and Los Angeles have received a $61 million award from the Department of Homeland Security to help the region guard against terrorism and respond to natural disasters.
The grant, announced Thursday, will be shared by police and other agencies in both cities and by Los Angeles County. The money will fund improved communication between public safety agencies in order to increase the region's ability to prevent, respond to and recover from an act of terrorism or a natural disaster.
Specifically, the money will support the Joint Regional Intelligence Center, a nexus for local and national intelligence; the hiring of intelligence analysts; training for first-responders; to improve the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System; and for earthquake response and recovery plans.
Those include a patient tracking system for friends and family to find each other in the wake of a disaster, according to the Los Angeles Mayor's office. And Sheriff Lee Baca had this to say:
``These types of grants allow for a faster, more focused regional response during major emergencies such as earthquakes, wildfires, civil disobedience or terrorist attacks.''
The Department of Homeland Security has awarded Urban Area Security Initiative grants annually since 2003. The Los Angeles region has received more than $600 million in UASI money since the program's inception. Agencies that will benefit from the latest grant include the Los Angeles Police and Fire departments, Los Angeles World Airports Police, Port Police, Long Beach, Police and Fire departments, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and Los Angeles County Department of Health Services.
--Nancy Wride and City News Service contributed to this report.