City police nab $24k grant to help beef up enforcement

The Oswego City Police department received a grant of over $24,000 from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The funding, from the Fiscal Year 2009 Port Security Grant Program, will be used to protect critical port infrastructure from terrorism. Although Oswego is not at high risk for terrorist attacks, all ports are under guidelines to minimize any terrorist activities, said Jonathan Daniels, director of Port of Oswego Authority.

"We’re an interior port so it may minimize access to terrorism, but we still fall under the same protection that coastal ports receive," Daniels said.

Oswego City Police Captain Tory DeCaire stressed that this grant allows the police department to effectively protect the Oswego community.

"We can’t rule out the possibility of some kind of terrorist activity just because this is a small area," DeCaire said. "We need to take all measures we can in order to protect Oswego, and the port is important because of the entry to the canal system."

The Oswego City Police Department applied for the grant after determining eligibility through the qualifications made by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. After noting their eligibility, multiple meetings were conducted to set up the grant application, DeCaire said.

After the application process was completed, Daniels said that the police department went through state avenues, which filtered the application to the federal levels for final approval.

On April 8, the department received word from Congressman John M. McHugh that they had been approved for the grant and would receive $24,389. According to a press release, the funds help ports to enhance their risk management capabilities, domain awareness, training and exercises, and capabilities to prevent, detect, respond to, and recover from attacks involving improvised explosive devices, weapons of mass destruction and other non-conventional weapons.

DeCaire said that there is an operational plan in place for the funds to help ensure the safety of the port. However, specifics cannot be released until the plan is approved by the department.

The Oswego Port Authority is always looking for upgrades, often in surveillance measures, to be able to quickly report and have backup materials for any investigations Daniels said.

"Our port is an entrance to the Oswego River and the Erie Canal, so we are a gateway and we’re a little bit more valuable to have funds applied toward safety," Daniels said.