Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham announced an agreement between DHS and the state of S.C. to use $800,000 in fiscal year 2009 homeland security grant funds to support state and local law enforcement personnel stationed at SeaHawk, a U.S. Coast Guard-led security initiative operating at the Port of Charleston.
"SeaHawk represents a critical partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement partners to share information and coordinate response." said Secretary Napolitano. "Today's announcement will enhance our capabilities to deter terrorists and other criminals. The Department looks forward to continuing to work with Senator Graham and the state of South Carolina to strengthen this partnership."
"Today's announcement was very good news for the people of Charleston and South Carolina as a whole," said Senator Graham. "Thanks to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano - who visited Charleston and was impressed by what we're doing here - we have secured money to continue SeaHawk. Reggie Lloyd, our State Law Enforcement Director, was also a key player in making this happen. I truly appreciate their work."
SeaHawk recently underwent the final steps in a coordinated reprogramming of State Homeland Security Grant Program funding originally awarded to South Carolina over the summer. The funding will support state and local law enforcement personnel critical to SeaHawk's mission.
The announcement came at a press event at the Port of Charleston, where Senator Graham joined South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Chief Reggie Lloyd and DHS officials from the Coast Guard, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Federal Emergency Management Agency—all of which are involved in SeaHawk.
Seahawk was established by Congress in 2003 as a collaborative initiative designed to bring federal, state and local agencies together to combat terrorism and other criminal activity by sharing information and coordinating response and interdiction efforts.
Originally funded and coordinated by the Department of Justice, SeaHawk was recently transferred to DHS pursuant to guidance established by the SAFE Port Act of 2006.