Mayor's Office Press Release
City of Houston, Regional Agencies Announce New Regional Terrorism Prevention and Response Initiative
“Securing the Cities” aimed at detecting, preventing terrorist attacks that use radiological and nuclear materials
June 2, 2016 -- The City of Houston, in partnership with the US Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO), and regional law enforcement agencies, announced the launch of the Securing the Cities (STC) program. This initiative, funded by a five-year $30 million dollar grant, will provide the greater Houston area with additional funding to provide equipment, training and support in the detection and interdiction of illicit radioactive material.
“Our nation has entered a new period where we have to think about threats that can have more catastrophic impacts than what we’ve seen before,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, “Working together as a region, we can use existing and new resources to help keep our communities safe from the threat of terrorism.”
The goal of STC is to build local capacity to find and intercept radiological or nuclear material before it can be used in a terrorist attack. This program does that by augmenting local resources with federal funding with the goal of detecting, deterring and defending against terror attacks that use radioactive material. Working with public safety agencies throughout the region, STC will help the region build an enduring radiological detection network that integrates with other counter-terrorism initiatives already in place, such as the Houston Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI).
Law enforcement officers in the Cities of Houston and Pasadena as well as Harris, Fort Bend, Montgomery, Brazoria, and Galveston Counties, and the Texas Department of Public Safety will begin receiving equipment and training designed to detect and interdict unregulated radiological materials that could be used as weapons. The radiological detection equipment officers will receive will not interfere with normal patrol operations but will instead, give them a means of detecting dangerous substances otherwise unknown to them. Once detected, officers will be able to locate these materials and determine whether the radioactive source is medical, industrial or a potential threat.
Joining New York, Los Angeles/Long Beach, and the National Capital Region as the newest regional project of its kind, Houston was selected through a competitive submission process based on population, the area’s $300 billion annual economic contribution, presence of the Texas Medical Center, the amount of critical infrastructure in the area, the petrochemical complex and because of the region’s ongoing commitment to the detection and prevention of terrorism.
The program will be administered by the City of Houston Mayor’s Office for Public Safety & Homeland Security, which serves as the regional coordinator and fiduciary agent for the grant program. Initial funding has already been delivered to the City and additional funding and equipment will arrive shortly.
The City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Public Safety & Homeland Security (MOPSHS) provides the City with the coordination of public safety programs aimed at the detection, prevention and response to a catastrophe. Through management of the Houston Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) and Securing the Cities (STC) grant programs, MOPSHS serves the greater Houston region in terrorism preparedness, planning, response and recovery. Additionally, through the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and Houston Emergency Center (HEC), the agency ensures exemplary coordination of emergency response during daily operations and times of emergency. Houston Crackdown, a division of MOPSHS, supports volunteer projects in the areas of substance abuse prevention, treatment, and law enforcement. More information can be found online at houstontx.gov/publicsafety