Federal funding cuts could impact mass emergency reaction - KCTV5

Federal funding cuts could impact mass emergency reaction

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Some Kansas City Council members are concerned that federal budget cuts will impact the area's ability to respond to natural disasters, terrorist threats and other mass emergencies.

The council's public safety committee discussed the issue Wednesday. Representatives for Kansas City police, fire and public health and emergency management departments were among those present for the discussion.

The city could see a $1.2 million reduction in emergency operations due to federal budget cuts. This pays for equipment, training and other emergency operations functions. Hazardous material rescue teams and rescue boats could be scaled back.

"The federal government has invested a large amount of dollars in building these capabilities in our area," said General Shepherd, director of emergency operations. "We just want them sustained."

Shepherd said the federal Department of Homeland Security is limiting its funding to the top 25 urban areas. Kansas City ranks 31.

The rankings are based on population, vulnerability and access to coastal waters.

Kansas City Police Department leaders say Kansas City may not have coastal borders or international borders, but that doesn't mean it's not at risk. Terrorist groups do recruit in the Kansas City area and counter-terrorism officers must remain vigilant, police said.

The full council is expected to discuss the issue.

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