Monday, December 5, 2011

Alameda County Supervisors To Set Stage For $3 Million in Homeland Security Grants

Supervisors met Nov. 22 at DHS
office in Dublin.
Dec. 5, 2011 | The Alameda County Board of Supervisors will decide Tuesday whether to grant approval to the county sheriff to apply and accept over $3 million in grants from the Department of Homeland Security.

Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern issued a request Nov. 22 to the board asking for over $2.6 million in aid for disaster and emergency aid requests in federal funds. A similar request the same day asks to secure another $407,000 from the California Emergency Management Agency for the same purpose.

The county sheriff's department, along with the Oakland Police Department, has been the leading law enforcement agencies in dealing with Occupy Oakland protesters in two high-profile attempts to evict the group in the last month at Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland.

Under mutual aid agreements signed by every police agency, the loosely defined notion of "emergency aid" has been applied to quelling protests that have largely been peaceful.

In staff reports for both requests, the terms are present, although without references to Occupy Oakland and resulting political unrest in the Bay Area and beyond.

The Board of Supervisors and numerous department heads met at the Office of Homeland Security's Dublin office on Nov. 15--a week before the sheriff's official request to the board for federal grants. One county official said there is no link between the two.

The bulk of the larger request, according to staff, would be allocated to the county's on-going attempt to upgrade its ability to communicate with other local agencies in the event of a disaster. Over $1.3 million would be set aside for radio upgrades in the East Bay Regional Communications System (EBRCS). The project has been stymied in the past by Oakland's desire to construct its own communications system apart from the rest of the region.

Funding for medical response systems and emergency response teams in the county make up the balance of the potential grant along with over $86,000 for training by the county bomb squad for the mitigation of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).


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