News Releases

Senator Murray Introduces Bill Supporting Local First-Responders During High-Profile Events

Jun 04 2009

The Local HEROs Grant Act will provide grants to local agencies that step up to the plate during national or international events

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced the Local Homeland Event Response Operations Grant Act (Local HEROs). This bill will allow state and local police and fire departments and emergency management agencies to apply for federal support when a major event of national or international significance occurs in their area. 

“A local community should not be forced to bear the full burden and cost for providing the security on behalf of the entire nation,” said Senator Patty Murray. “The Local HEROs Grant Act ensures that agencies won’t have to worry about not having the resources they need to plan for major events or provide adequate numbers of first responders to maintain order and safety.” 

Events like the Super Bowl, presidential political conventions, presidential funerals and the Olympic Games place extra security burdens on state and local first responders who must plan and prepare for the events and work overtime to staff them.  These events may only last a day or a couple of weeks, but the security costs associated with these events can drain a local government’s ability to provide funding for police officers and fire fighters for the rest of the year.  In 2010, the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia will place a similar strain on state and local first responders in Whatcom County to deal with the influx of visitors to the region as well as the heightened security risks. 

Senator Murray is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security.

Local Homeland Event Response Operations Grant Act:

  • In order to qualify for a grant, eligible entities (local law enforcement agencies, fire departments and emergency management departments of a state, local, or tribal government) must operate not more than 50 miles from the location of the special event, or not more than 50 miles from the nearest United States port of entry to the event if the event is international.
  • Grants may be used for the overtime salary and benefits of employees or contractors who perform law enforcement duties associated with a special event.
  • Grants must be used to supplement and not supplant the funds of state, local, or tribal governments. 
  • The President or Secretary of Homeland Security may designate an event as a “special event” if it is of significant national importance and may require federal involvement in the form of assets, security and management assistance, and/or consultation, advising, and support in various capacities.