Latest Reports

  • Year after year, state auditors have pointed to bookkeeping problems at North Carolina’s Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, an agency in charge of distributing homeland security and disaster recovery grants.

  • The nation’s first homeland security secretary, Tom Ridge, in 2003 pointed to West Virginia as an example of preparedness done right while standing on the steps of the state capital building in Charleston. “Your regional approach and your use of common training, exercises and equipment is setting an example that the other states must follow,” the Charleston Gazette quoted him as saying.

  • When presidential candidate John McCain in 2008 announced Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, we decided to have a look at how her hometown of Wasilla and the surrounding Matanuska-Susitna Borough handled millions of dollars in federal homeland security grants.

  • Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal made national headlines in early 2009 when he declared that his state would reject as much as $100 million worth of stimulus funds contained in President Barack Obama’s economic recovery package due to provisions Jindal warned would lead to a tax increase on businesses.

  • Temperatures reached brutal lows. Repeated blizzards shut down the highway system leaving road crews working 24-hour days. Motorists were trapped, and massive snow drifts virtually buried houses. Thousands of livestock expired. Then snowmelt caused near-biblical flooding. More than 2,200 square miles of land were soaked in water, an area the size of two Rhode Islands.

  • In our profile of Pennsylvania, we described how emergency managers there faced tough criticism over the poor handling of a winter storm in 2007 that led to what Gov. Ed Rendell publicly described as a “total breakdown in communications.” He heard about the storm’s severity from stranded citizens, not officials. Pennsylvania wasn’t alone.

  • Arizona has figured prominently in the evolution of the Department of Homeland Security since its creation in 2003. When Barack Obama took office, he appointed the state’s governor, Janet Napolitano, to head the department, and she was confirmed by Congress with little opposition.

  • In the spring of 2008, local officials across the country in charge of spending federal anti-terrorism grants responded with befuddlement to a new rule imposed by the Department of Homeland Security on anyone planning to apply for the preparedness funds.

  • So-called “needs assessments” are critical for determining where a community is vulnerable to catastrophe or terrorism. The federal government has required them of states in order to justify how they planned to use the $29 billion in homeland security grants Washington has handed out since Sept. 11. What safety and law enforcement equipment might be necessary to fill known security gaps?

  • Authorities in the state of Wyoming refused to turn over detailed records showing how federal homeland security grants have been used there since 2001. As with other states, we were seeking computer records containing individual grant transactions hoping to detect larger trends in how local beneficiaries have invested the money.

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