Governor Ehrlich, U.S. Homeland Security Official Announce $4.5 Million in First-Ever Homeland Security Funding

On December 16, 2004, Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., and a U.S. Department of Homeland Security official announced $4.5 million in federal funding for regional non-governmental organizations to upgrade their security measures. Governor Ehrlich and Thomas J. Lockwood, Director of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office for the National Capital Region, also delivered $30,000 in federal funding to two synagogues in Montgomery County to strengthen their protective measures.

“Maryland is the first State in the nation to provide funding to protect high-risk, non-governmental organizations, including many innovative Jewish institutions,” said Governor Ehrlich. “In partnership with our non-governmental organizations, we are taking a cutting-edge approach to protecting Marylanders in the post-9/11 world. I am proud to partner with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to make our State and our citizens safer.”

“Since our creation, the Department of Homeland Security has allocated billions of dollars in grant funding for state and local governments to enhance the security and safety of their citizens,” said Thomas J. Lockwood. “Coordinated resources and cooperative actions are particularly important in the National Capital Region, and I am pleased to see this progress in our efforts.”

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will make $4.5 million available to the National Capital Region (NCR) for federal fiscal year 2005 to fund security measures at non-profit organizations. The funding is a result of Governor Ehrlich lobbying this year for a wider definition of critical infrastructure and key assets to include religious institutions, community centers and other non-profit organizations. The DHS approved Governor Ehrlich’s request in June 2004, setting national precedent. This is the first time that the DHS has specifically allocated funding for non-governmental organizations.

The NCR includes the District of Columbia, portions of Virginia, and Montgomery and Prince George's counties in Maryland. Any high-risk non-governmental organization will be eligible to apply for funding. Participation is completely voluntary. Guidelines are in development to determine final funding awards. Funding will be capped at $100,000 per organization.

In addition, the B’nai Tzedek Congregation in Potomac will receive $22,000 for security upgrades and Young Israel Shomrai Emunah will receive $8,000 for security enhancements. The funding will go to security improvements that are determined by the synagogue.

“The wheels are in motion to put in place security measures that protect more and more people as they go about their daily lives,” said the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security Director Dennis R. Schrader. “The Governor's Office of Homeland Security stands with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Capital Region to assist non-profit institutions which advance our state and local public safety priorities.”

DHS issued official approval June 16 to all U.S. states and territories to fund non-governmental organizations. A variety of security measures are eligible including motion detector systems, physical barriers, alarm systems and vehicle identification technologies.

Governor Ehrlich led a delegation of Maryland business leaders, Jewish community leaders, members of Maryland's medical community and State government officials on a trade mission to Israel in November 2003.

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