- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 21, 2006

D.C. Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey yesterday told a House panel that a new formula used to dole out homeland-security grants has “a little bit of everything in it, with the exception of common sense.”

Chief Ramsey and officials from New York City told the panel investigating why their cities received significantly less money this year that the process is too complicated and changes every year.

“I don’t want to take anything away from the master’s degrees and the doctorates and all these folks that had all these degrees to put together this formula, but they’re missing something here,” Chief Ramsey said.

George W. Foresman, undersecretary of preparedness with the Department of Homeland Security, appeared before the House Homeland Security Committee and blamed Congress for the cuts.

Mr. Foresman said the new risk formula played a hand in giving more money this year to Southern and Midwestern states.

“Despite recent successes globally in the war on terror, America’s security will be a marathon and not a sprint. We need an objective funding process that will sustain improvements for the long term,”he said.

The grant awards are not meant to act as a “report card” on how cities are preparing for a terrorist attack, Mr. Foresman said.

This year’s awards under the Urban Area Security Initiative Program (UASI) angered lawmakers, who say the District and New York, the top target of terrorists in the past, should not have received severe cuts.

Rep. Christopher Shays, Connecticut Republican, pointed out that one-third of the new risk-based grant also gives one-third consideration to the “effectiveness” of a city program.

“I’m willing to see Connecticut get cuts if it’s based on risk,” Mr. Shays said. “But I’m feeling like the department is doing what it is not authorized to do.”

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg also told the panel that “boots on the ground” or police and intelligence manpower, are of more value than what most grants offer, which is new technology.

“The world is not what you see on ‘CSI,’” said Mr. Williams, referring to a popular television drama that uses advanced technology to solve crimes.

“The world is not where technology is the key component. The real ways that you stop the bad guys is by having well-trained, highly motivated people,” Mr. Williams said.

The national capital region, which encompasses the District and parts of Maryland and Virginia, will receive $46.4 million, which is $32 million less than last year. New York City is still the top municipal grant recipient with $124 million, down from $207 million last year.

“This was a stab in the back to the city of New York,” said Rep. Peter T. King, New York Republican and committee chairman. “It was indefensible, it was disgraceful, and, to me, is raises very, very real questions about the competency” of the fledgling department.

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