Governor Schwarzenegger joins Admiral Kevin J. Eldridge
, USCG, Commander, Eleventh Coast Guard District and Matt Bettenhausen
, Director, Office of Homeland Security
, State of California, onboard a UTB-41 Coast Guard boat
to observe coast guard port security drills.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced
a $5 million grant to improve port security at 11 of California's ports during a visit to the San Diego Coast Guard Joint Operations Center
. "In California, we have many threat targets, including large urban areas, mass transit, railways, and international icons like the Golden Gate Bridge," said Gov. Schwarzenegger. "And that is why we are doing everything it takes to achieve one objective: making our state's homeland security capability every bit as effective as we need to prevent a terrorist attack."
California's ports bring in 43 percent of the nation's cargo containers. The $5 million in state grants will be used for communications equipment, physical security improvements such as cameras, lighting and fencing, underwater surveillance, personal protective equipment for port first responders and training for port security personnel.
The money will be divided by California's 11 ports as follows:
· Hueneme $450,000
· Humboldt Bay $150,000
· Long Beach $750,000
· Los Angeles $750,000
· Oakland $750,000
· Redwood City $150,000
· Richmond $450,000
· San Diego $750,000
· San Francisco $450,000
· Sacramento $150,000
· Stockton $150,000
In addition to the grant money, the state's Office of Homeland Security (OHS) has taken a number of steps to ensure the safety of the people of California. OHS has funded, through the California Maritime Academy, a $400,000 training program to use port workers to assist in port security efforts. OHS has also established the State Terrorism Threat Assessment Center and four Regional Terrorism Threat Assessment Centers to facilitate information sharing and analysis between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The Coast Guard and the harbor police are part of this effort.
Gov. Schwarzenegger made the $5 million grant announcement at the ceremonial grand opening of San Diego's Coast Guard Joint Operations Center
(JOC), one of two centers in the nation to have this type of federal and local cooperation that maximizes port security, communication and collaboration. The JOC, a partnership between the U.S. Department of Defense, the California National
Guard, the Port of San Diego and the San Diego Harbor Police, operates around the clock and merges local and federal monitoring and surveillance systems for vessels, swimmers and divers. The center also serves as a dispatch center and command center for all port security activities.
In addition, Governor Schwarzenegger yesterday sent the following letters to members of Congress regarding Homeland Security funding:
In a letter sent to the Chairmen and ranking members of the Senate and House Committee's on Appropriations, and cosigned by New York Governor George Pataki, Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Texas Governor Rick Perry, Governor Schwarzenegger expressed his concern regarding the distribution of Homeland Security funding to the states and reiterated his support for funds being distributed based on specific threats and vulnerabilities.
Letter to Senate & House Appropriations
Governor Schwarzenegger also wrote to Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congressmembers Jerry Lewis and Lucille Roybal-Allard to communicate his support for several provisions critical to California's ability to combat terrorism. The Governor's letters outlined his support of prevention efforts that will increase our ability to share information, strengthen border security, enhance transportation security and provide resources to public agencies responsible for enforcing the rule of law and investigating criminal activity.
New funds will go to:
· adding cameras, lighting, and fencing
· training port security personnel to assess and identify security risks
· purchasing communications equipment