Thursday, August 9, 2007

County Homeland Security at work

Back in March, Congressman Anthony Weiner and Congressman Jeff Flake produced a report entitled, “Security or Pork? A Review of National Homeland Security Funding Boondoggles”, which mentions the following item regarding how our Homeland Security funds are being spent here in Central Ohio (p. 4):

Columbus, OH

Program: Urban Area Security Initiative
Amount: $7,348 for 11 vests
Year: 2005
Use: Bulletproof vests for police and fire department dogs
“Consider Columbus, Ohio, which used part of its Homeland Security grant to buy bulletproof dog vests.” (Tampa Tribune, January 5, 2006)

“‘I challenge anyone to spend $8 billion and not find something to pick on,’ Ken Morckel, director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, said.” (Columbus Dispatch, December 9, 2005)

“‘These aren’t pets. These aren’t woolly sweaters we bought them to walk in the park,’ [Kerry] Ellis [of Columbus division of fire] said. ‘These are flak vests we bought to protect an animal who provides an expensive service.’” (Columbus Dispatch, December 9, 2005)
Who oversees the Urban Area Security Initiative grants? The Franklin County Criminal Justice Planning Board, which is now one member short. Is it any wonder that our grants under the UASI are being cut?