Congressman Chris Collins Announces $657,000 in DHS Grants for Erie, Niagara, Monroe and Orleans Counties & $340,000 for the Seneca Nation of Indians
Today Congressman Collins announced that Erie, Niagara, Monroe and Orleans counties will be receiving a total of $657,000 in grant funding as a part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Operation Stonegarden Grant (OPSG) program. In addition, the DHS will award $340,000 to the Seneca Nation of Indians through the Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program (THSGP). This program supports state and local law enforcement to aggressively fight drug trafficking, smuggling, and other crimes along the United States’ borders.
“As a border state it is important that our counties and tribal nations have the resources they need to keep our communities safe,” said Congressman Collins. “I am pleased that the Department of Homeland Security has granted such important funding to the Seneca Nation and local law enforcement to keep Western New York secure from terrorist threats. This critical funding will have a direct and positive impact in our region and will undoubtedly help keep America and the residents of New York’s 27th Congressional District safe.”
Of the $657,000 in DHS grant funding, Niagara County received $185,000. This federal funding will be used to purchase License Plate Readers (LPR), overtime for patrols with border patrol, a side-by-side off road vehicle (UTV), and additional equipment for police agencies within the County.
“The mission of the grant is to put together state and local law enforcement with federal resources to enhance border security within Niagara County,” said Michael Filicetti, Undersheriff for the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office. “This will be accomplished through increased patrols on the border, better technology to monitor activity in the border area and agency cooperation.”
Filicetti continued: “Patrols will be marine, air and land. Utilization of plate readers is a powerful method to secure critical information on vehicles operating in the border area. The overtime will allow the Sheriff’s Office to participate in structured patrols to enhance the border patrol capability. Other law enforcement agencies also participate with the border patrol and Stonegarden grant.”
Erie County received $197,000 in DHS grant funding, which will help ensure local law enforcement have the funding necessary to enhance their training programs and emergency response capabilities.
“Erie County is happy to receive this critical Homeland Security money again this year,” said Ed Rath, Erie County Legislator. “It's been used for advanced training programs among local law enforcement agencies - increasing our ability to manage and secure the US/Canada border. This funding is essential for maintaining the safety of our residents in Erie County.”
Orleans County will also be receiving a federal funding award totaling $123,000, which will be used to enhance law enforcement efforts along the Lake Ontario’s shoreline. In addition, this DHS funding will allow the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department to make equipment upgrades and general improvements to its marine division.
“Orleans County Sheriff’s office so appreciates the 2017 DHS, Operation Stonegarden grant funds,” said Randy Bower, Orleans County Sheriff. “This grant allows Orleans County Sheriff’s Deputies along with local DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) officers the ability to better secure our international borders along our lake front as well as the Route 18 and Route 104 corridors. I want to thank Congressman Collins for helping us keep our communities safe.”
Monroe County will be receiving $152,000 from DHS to help local law enforcement develop and enhance its border security initiatives.
“The Monroe County Sheriff's Office has participated in Operation Stondgarden for nearly a decade since the inception of the program,” said Patrick O’Flynn, Monroe County Sheriff. “Together with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, these funds are used to defray the cost of details specifically designed to secure our borders and ensure the safety of our community.”
The DHS awarded an additional $340,000 to the Seneca Nation of Indians through the Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program (THSGP). The Seneca Nation of Indians intends to use this funding to help strengthen the Nation’s ability to deter, mitigate, and combat any and all risks associated with potential terrorist attacks.
“It is with great appreciation the Seneca Nation accepts the 2017 Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program award of $340,000,” said Michael Gates, Director of Emergency Management for the Seneca Nation of Indians. “The purpose of this funding will assist the Seneca Nation Emergency Management Department in addressing ongoing maintenance needs of the Seneca Nation Interoperable Radio System.
The Seneca Nation Interoperable Radio System is a stand-alone system has been under development through previous THSGP grants since 2009. The most recent 2014 THSGP award expanded the coverage of the system to reach from Salamanca in southern Cattaraugus County to the western edge of Niagara County in Niagara Falls. The Nations current radio system is able to provide internal daily operational capabilities for 20 Nation departments; it also has the capability to simultaneously operate in emergency mode with these departments.
Gates added: “This feature allows daily internal communications across the platform while allowing the ability to handle critical emergency situations at the same time on two separate banks of radio channels. As the system grew it became apparent that some of the initial components needed to be upgraded, fresh batteries, new antennae’s for radio in use and adding system-monitoring software to identify system malfunctions more efficiently.”