Metro Atlanta gets funding boost for terrorist threat preparedness

The Atlanta area is getting a substantial increase in federal funds used to prepare cities and states to prevent or respond to a terrorist attack.

The Department of Homeland Security has allocated an $8.43 million grant in fiscal 2017 for Atlanta metro to improve its public safety readiness in the face of a serious local threat. The funding is a 55 percent increase over fiscal 2016 when the area received about $5.43 million.

“The administration remains committed to strengthening the security and resilience of our state and local communities,” said Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly. “FEMA grant programs are flexible by design and will be used to help to address evolving threats, and each grant will go toward building and sustaining capabilities across all levels of government and the whole community to maximize preparedness.”

The “anti-terror” grants were created as a response to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. The goal is to help cities, states and territories improve the response to potential terrorism by enhancing law enforcement capabilities. That includes preventing terrorist threats before they happen through “pre-operational activities,” the department said.

While Atlanta received a boost in funding this year, the haul is short of the $13.5 million the area received in 2010. Belt-tightening in the years that followed swallowed a lot of the funding and by 2013 Atlanta’s grant had been cut to $5.2 million.