TRENTON, NJ – Middlesex County is among seven counties to share $37.2 million in the latest round of federal funding for homeland security, the state Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness announced on Friday, May 20.

The seven counties, which along with Middlesex include Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic and Union, are considered at greatest risk of a terrorist attack.

In all, the state has been awarded more than $59.2 million in federal homeland security funds for federal fiscal year 2011.

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The funding falls under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) core homeland security programs, according to state Homeland Security and Preparedness (OHSP) Director Charles B. McKenna.

The state’s seven-county Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), which also includes Jersey City and Newark, received the same amount as awarded in 2010.

Additionally, the UASI area was awarded more than $1.2 million under the Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant Program, which allows for regional planning for terrorist incidents and other catastrophic events in coordination with New York City’s UASI.  McKenna said nonprofit groups in the UASI area can compete for funds to improve security and purchase equipment under the UASI Nonprofit Security Grant Program.

He said funding under the State Homeland Security Program (SHSP), which consists of grant funds dedicated for use throughout the state’s 21 counties, was cut in half compared to last year, with an award this year of more than $11.9 million.

McKenna said his office will be notifying each county of their award amount in the coming weeks.

He said that for 2011, New Jersey received more than 80 percent of the combined UASI and SHSP funding it received in 2010, noting the state fared better than many states when comparing the combined 2011 figures to 2010.

“Consistent with Governor (Chris) Christie’s commitment to protect the state and our citizens, we will continue to distribute all homeland security funding based entirely on risk,” McKenna said.

“While I would have liked to see the SHSP awards higher, I am pleased to see the commitment to the UASI area, given the area’s close proximity to New York, high population density and significant number of critical infrastructure sites.

“While we will award and administer these funds accordingly, we will work with DHS to maximize funding to New Jersey for next year’s funding cycle.”

As part of their announcement, DHS also published the state’s funding awards as follows:

• $7.9 million to be awarded to the New Jersey State Police under the Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG) Program to enhance all-hazards emergency management capabilities.

• More than $563,000 to be awarded to Newark and Jersey City under the Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS) Program to enhance regional mass casualty incident response capabilities.

• More than $241,000 awarded under the Citizen Corps Program to better coordinate community involvement in emergency preparedness planning, response and recovery.

• Counties and municipalities will be eligible to compete for funding under the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Grant Program to improve emergency management preparedness capabilities at their local emergency operations centers.

McKenna said his office will continue to invest in federal and state resources that enhance the state’s preparedness, readiness, and resiliency.

This year, DHS is distributing more than $2.1 billion to states across the country for a wide variety of homeland security and preparedness activities, which represents a reduction of more than $680 million. More information about OHSP can be found at www.njhomelandsecurity.gov.