LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Law enforcement and public officials said Thursday that funds from a newly-received $61 million federal grant would be used to help the region prepare for disasters.

KNX 1070’s Jon Baird reports the latest cash infusion from the Department of Homeland Security comes amid deep budget cuts in other parts of the nation.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Police Chief Charlie Beck, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, and Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell announced the grant at the LAFD Training Center in Elysian Park.

They were accompanied by various public safety instruments and equipment paid for by the 2012 Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) Grant, including Bomb Squad/Hazmat equipment, a SWAT MEDCAT, and a PIO Command Vehicle.

Mayor Villaraigosa said the region was fortunate to have only about 12 percent cut from the grant this year, compared to about 40 percent in other U.S. cities.

“Here in a hotbed of natural calamities and terrorist targets, our first responders and regional agencies never have an off-season,” he said.

The funds will go towards funding the development of plans for earthquake response and recovery, and exercises that simulate earthquakes and other “catastrophic incidents”, Villaraigosa said.

This year’s grant marked the ninth consecutive year of receiving the funds, which pushes the overall total received over the last ten years to more than $600 million.

Chief McDonnell acknowledged the grim economic reality facing law enforcement agencies both here in the Southland and across the nation.

“In these tough budget times, grants like these have never been as important as they are today,” McDonnell said.


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