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SPECIAL REPORT: Homeland Security Money

Updated: Thursday, February 21 2013, 11:14 AM EST
COLUMBUS -- Ohio has received close to a half billion dollars in
Homeland Security Funds since 2003. That’s when the federal government
began doling out money for the fight against terrorism. The target of
the funds has evolved over the years and that has drawn some criticism.

Matt
Mayer, who now lives in Dublin, Ohio, worked for Homeland Security in
Washington, D.C. Mayer was in charge of grants and had a checkbook worth
billions. He says intentions were good, but money was misspent,  "There
wasn't the rigor on the front side of it to make sure the spending
aligned with specific capabilities."

In Ohio, money was spent on
what some say are the much needed items: $484,705 for infrared
technology on the police helicopter, $36,000 for ballistic blankets, and
$58,630 for bomb squad radios. Other money was spent on questionable
programs: $107,000 for a domestic violence program, $43,543 for a
stalking unit to track stalking complaints, and $48,000 for HandsOn
Central Ohio—a volunteer organization. Mayer says, "There was a lot of
free-wheeling and people just started buying things."

Ohio State
Assistant Professor Charlotte Kirschner did her dissertation on Homeland
Spending. She says The Patriot Act pushed huge amounts of money to the
states, "But what it failed to do was provide a lot of guidance on how
to spend that money." She says the solution to cut down on wasteful
spending is to move away from big broad block grants, "Instead switch to
categorical grants which are typically competitive and have urban areas
compete." Matt Mayer agrees. He says the system needs to be fixed, “We
figure out what remains to be built, where the risk really is, and we
focus funds on those places and stop the broad brush spreading of peanut
butter across the whole toast."

Ohio Homeland Security Director
Richard Baron confirms funding is getting tighter, He told WSYX ABC6
News he expects the 2013 grant cycle to be a competitive process. He
adds that he believes Ohio spends its money well, "In Ohio I believe
we're doing it the right way. We didn't create situations we couldn't
sustain."

WEB EXTRA:  The is video of the ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ The
exercise in California has been heavily criticized because Homeland
Security funds paid for it.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nx6PlJnkOE

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Reporter: Mike Kallmeyer
Web Producer: Kellie HannaSPECIAL REPORT: Homeland Security Money


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