Knowing the impact the attacks of September 11, 2001, had on so many New Jersey families, Rep. Frelinghuysen believes there is no higher priority than ensuring all of our families, neighborhoods, schools and businesses are safe. In New York, Pennsylvania, and in northern Virginia more than 3000 Americans lost their lives- of that day over 700 New Jerseyans.
That is why Rep. Frelinghuysen continues to fight to provide full support for our police officers, firefighters and first aid squads. The Congressman has pushed for and provided funding for interoperable technologies to these first responders. In the event of a natural disaster, widespread criminal activity, or a terrorist threat, law enforcement officials and first responders from different areas need to be able to communicate with one another. Interoperable equipment allows them to do so. Rep. Frelinghuysen also continues to advocate for fortifying our nation against a possible bioterrorism attack and better securing our ports, harbor tunnels, mass transit lines, and road networks.
To protect our ports, the Congressman believes it is absolutely necessary that our government know exactly who is in charge of securing our ports, managing our terminals, and moving cargo in and out of our nation. With this in mind, the Congressman introduced legislation requiring all federal port security grant programs to be permanently distributed according to "risk", as opposed to political judgments.
At the urging of Rep. Frelinghuysen and the 9/11 Commission, the Department of Homeland Security has started to change the complicated and irrational way federal homeland security funds have been distributed to high-threat, high density areas since September 11, 2001. Greater focus on risk and vulnerability increases the likelihood that New Jersey, the most densely populated state in the country, will receive more security funds to protect our citizens, airports, seaports, tunnels, and bridges.
These efforts extend to the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI). The State of New Jersey received $34.98 million in 2008 to focus on emergency planning involved in high-density urban areas. The state has received approximately $168 million under the UASI grant program since 2003.
As an advocate for greater security in the northern New Jersey/New York Metropolitan Area, Frelinghuysen has taken several additional steps to strengthen our homeland security, including:
* Authoring the Smarter Funding for All of America's Security Act, which strictly adheres to the 9/11 Commission's recommendations for changing the federal homeland security funding formula to address critical infrastructure, population density and unique security risks in New Jersey and other high threat areas.
* Authoring legislation requiring all maritime port security grants to be distributed according to "the risks and vulnerabilities of ports and the proximity of ports to critical infrastructure or urban or sensitive areas."
* Successfully fighting to ensure New Jersey's high threat, high density areas, including large portions of the 11th Congressional District, receive their fair share of security funding under DHS's Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI).
* Introducing legislation to include New Jersey's Task Force One -- a team of very specialized, highly trained, well equipped responders -- as part of FEMA's National Urban Search and Rescue system.
* Fighting for more grants to support our county and municipal law enforcement, EMS and fire fighters.
* Supporting the United States Coast Guard.
* Working with our hospitals- Chilton Memorial Hospital, Morristown Memorial Hospital, Somerset Medical Center, St. Clare's Health System as well as the Veterans Health Care System to assure that those facilities have what they need in case of a regional or homeland emergency.
Rep. Frelinghuysen actively works to support New Jersey's first responders. He annually holds a grant seminar to help local fire departments navigate the bureaucracy in applying for funding.
He has also worked to provided interoperable communications to our first responders. Interoperable technology is important, because it allows police, fire fighters, and emergency medical personnel from different jurisdictions to communicate with each other in case of an emergency.
* Rep. Frelinghuysen provided $940,000 funding for Morris, Sussex, Somerset, and Essex County to obtain interoperable technologies in 2008.
* Worked with the New Jersey delegation to secure $78,960 for statewide New Jersey Sheriff's accreditation. Accreditation provides independent assurance that a law enforcement agency meets professional standards.