(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray today announced that the Olympia-based Homeland Security Institute (HSI) will receive a $1 million federal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) maritime transit security grant. The grant was secured with the help of a letter of support written by Murray, who is a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security and a national leader on port and ferry security issues.
"I want to congratulate the Homeland Security Institute on winning this important funding," Murray said. "Their proposal presents new ways to train ferry passengers and personnel so that we can keep our waterways safe and secure. HSI is, in its first year, setting a strong example of innovative, results-oriented thinking for Washington state, and I'm so proud to support their work."
Last April, DHS issued a request for proposals on homeland security training for transit security, specifically to improve training for cross-disciplinary response for first responders, under the DHS Competitive Training Grants Program Solicitation program. The goal of this program is to use a blended learning approach to help ships’ crews, riders, and public safety professionals become an integrated part of the overall maritime security effort.
As opposed to much of the funding allocated by DHS – which is federal formula funding that is allocated based on state population – this training grant was part of a competitive process. According to HSI's John Fortugno, Senator Murray's letter of support for HSI's proposal was written in May, and played a major role in the success of the organization's proposal.
“The Homeland Security Institute, and its partners from across Washington State, greatly appreciate Senator Murray’s early involvement in supporting our efforts to strengthen preparedness training for emergency responders, public officials and citizens," said HSI Director John Fortugno. "Senator Murray’s endorsement of the Ferry Passenger Partnership Program helped us win a highly competitive grant which will save lives and secure a key transportation link in the event of a natural disaster or terrorist attack.”
The Homeland Security Institute, founded in January of this year, is a unit of the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges in Olympia. HSI is contracted with the state Emergency Management Division to address training, standardization, certification, and credentialing issues for Washington’s emergency responders.