• Charlotte region loses funding to fight terrorism

    By: Allison Latos


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The region, for the first time in 15 years, lost out on millions of dollars to fight terrorism.

    Police and firefighters use that money to buy equipment to protect the public from terrorists and other criminals, and provide resources during hurricanes.

    Thirty-two regions across the country get the federal money but this year, Charlotte is the only region that will not receive money through FEMA's Urban Area Security Initiative. 

    Security officials said that makes Charlotte more vulnerable.

    Charlotte's booming population, big banks and major construction are positive signs of growth but former FBI assistant director Chris Swecker said they could also be targets.

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    “These are the things terrorists go after, iconic financial institutions, military bases, things related to nuclear,” Swecker said.

    Since 2004, the Charlotte region, which covers 10 counties, has received nearly $60 million through FEMA’s Urban Area Security Initiative but this year, it won’t receive the funds.

    Charlotte Fire Urban Search and Rescue deployed across the state with gear to help during Hurricane Florence. First responders wouldn't have that gear without UASI funding.

    The UASI grant also paid for a radio system, police tactical equipment and training for hazardous materials and bombs.

    FEMA said it considered several factors to determine the risk of terrorism to people, critical infrastructure and economic security from domestic violent extremists, international terrorist groups and individuals inspired by terrorists abroad.

    North Carolina Emergency Management said FEMA’s decision increases vulnerability, especially as the city prepares for the 2020 Republican National Convention.

    "We believe the decision was shortsighted and not in the best interest of public safety," an emergency management spokesperson said.

    North Carolina is the ninth most populous in the nation and growing.

    Emergency management officials said they face a crucial need for more resources to protect the public.

    Swecker said losing the funding could mean it's hard to get back.

    The Charlotte Fire Department is protesting FEMA’s decision and Gov. Roy Cooper and the secretary of state have sent letters to the federal government requesting an appeal.

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