Fifty planners from Texas Area Councils of Government (COG) attended a TEEX-sponsored training session in College Station April 13-14 aimed at preparing them to coordinate equipment acquisitions under the State Homeland Security Grant Program.
Attendees were introduced to the Texas grant program Web site, which allows COG planners to approve, cancel or return homeland security equipment lists developed by the jurisdictions in their area. Once the list is approved by the COG, it is forwarded to TEEX, which is the State Administrative Agency for the grant. Once approved, the equipment purchase can be processed.
TEEX serves as the administrative agency for both the State Homeland Security Grant Program and the Urban Area Security Initiative program, which are funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security through the Office for Domestic Preparedness. The grants provide funding for equipment, training, exercises and planning.
The key to successful statewide preparation is built upon the capabilities of jurisdictions linked together by interlocking mutual aid agreements, said Fred Seals, who coordinates technology implementation for planning and training under the State Homeland Security Grant Program. The 24 COGs are the vehicles for achieving regional preparedness in Texas, he added.
“The goal of the meeting was to bring the 24 COGs together and to train new employees on how to use the ODP Web site and some of the new ODP reporting requirements,” Seals said. “We also solicited their input and asked them to critique the Web site.”
The Texas Homeland Security Plan was approved by ODP in January, and was the first unconditionally approved state strategy in the nation, Seals added.