Statewide counterterrorism programs, including several based on Long Island, are being bolstered by nearly $40 million in federal funds.
Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced a series of federal funds earmarked for critical efforts already underway between local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, designed specifically to secure transit systems and ports.
The governor announced the Federal Emergency Management Agency funds on Patriot Day, marking the 16th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks – a solemn reminder, Cuomo noted, of the need to “protect New York from those who wish us harm.”
“We will continue to bolster our efforts to keep everyone who lives, works and visits New York safe,” the governor said Monday. “We will continue to invest in counterterrorism initiatives (and) provide New Yorkers engaged in the state’s security efforts with topnotch equipment.”
More than $20.9 million is being awarded to the New York State Metropolitan Transportation Authority to “directly support transportation infrastructure security activities, specifically against terrorist attacks,” according to the governor’s office. Among the projects on the MTA’s agenda are training-and-exercise activities for first responders and “hardened infrastructure” efforts.
Another $18.1 million is dedicated specifically to port security, including grants for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation ($565,000), the Town of Smithtown ($282,312) and Nassau County ($64,650) to secure the Long Island Sound and other Island waters.
The bulk of the port-security funds are heading to the New York City Police Department ($10.8 million) and the NYC Fire Department ($5.2 million). Port-based counterterrorism projects include risk-management protocols, response training and “further capabilities to prevent, detect, respond to and recover from attacks involving improvised explosive devices and other non-conventional weapons,” according to the governor’s office.
Referencing “more frequent ISIS-inspired attacks” around the globe, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) noted that “top terror targets like New York City must remain proactive and well-protected.”
“Federal security funds are the cornerstone of effective preparedness and prevention against terror threats, and enable local law enforcement to do all they can to keep New Yorkers safe and secure,” Schumer said in a statement. “I will do everything in my power to continue fighting for these funds and make sure that New York is protected.”