Commissioners approve allocation of more counterterrorism funding to local agencies

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Clark County received a bit of a windfall this year as it relates to federal funding for counterterrorism efforts.  On Tuesday, it was revealed where some of the extra money will go.

Funding for counterterrorism has long been a complaint among law enforcement leaders and politicians in Nevada for a while now because Las Vegas hasn’t received its fair share in counterterrorism dollars.  However, this year, federal funding nearly doubled, and on Tuesday County Commissioners approved some of the projects that are dependent on that money.

After making headway in a years-long fight between Clark County and Capitol Hill, commissioners approved the allocation of more counterterrorism funding to local agencies.

“It was very important for us to get it,” said Dep. Chief John Steinbeck, Clark County Emergency Manager.

Clark County Deputy Fire Chief John Steinbeck is the chairman of the committee that distributes the urban area security initiative money to local agencies.

In 2018, the federal government sent $5 million to southern Nevada.  Last year, it was just shy of $2.9 million.

“This year, the big thing that we got was now, there’s a credit within the formula for special events, and nobody does special events more than Las Vegas and Clark County,” Steinbeck said.

The largest chunk goes to helping fund southern Nevada’s fusion center at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s headquarters.

Clark County Fire is seeing almost a million dollars, which is 20 percent of this year’s funding.

It’s going toward funding tactical training for firefighters who respond with police to hostile situations, as well as more ballistic protective gear for firefighters valley-wide.

“We wouldn’t have gotten those because the amount of funding we had been receiving just maintained the projects that we currently have going,” Steinbeck said.

Agencies will also get money and supplies toward preparing for mass casualty incidents like 1 October.
Steinbeck says a good chunk of that will go toward training to make sure the Valley’s finest are ready for the very worst.

“Thank God those are low-frequency incidents, but when it’s low frequency, you need to train on it more because you don’t run those type of calls very often,” said Steinbeck. 

Senator Dean Heller has spoken with 8 News NOW several times about trying to update the funding formula to get more money to cities like Las Vegas that are smaller ‘big cities’ but have a high number of tourists.

Nevada’s delegation has worked together in supporting the changes that were put into place in the last several months, and are working toward getting even more funding for next year.

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