Funds Will Enhance Security for Law Enforcement, Vehicles and Cruise Passengers

LONG BEACH, Calif. — February 14, 2008 — The Port of Los Angeles will receive more than $10 million in state homeland security grants to beef up security at the nation’s busiest containerport, state officials announced today. The grants will fund new training, technology and facilities for the Los Angeles Port Police and other law-enforcement agencies that operate at the Port, enabling them to speed communications and emergency responses, and inspect commercial vehicles more thoroughly.

"Our ports are the lifeblood of our prosperity, and this makes them an obvious target for those who would harm us in this age of terrorism,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.  “Protecting this great asset – the largest ports complex in the nation – is a crucial task. This injection of $10 million in Proposition 1B funds will be used to tighten vehicle inspection operations, expand training for our port police officers, buy improved equipment and implement a resource tracking system to aid first responders in the event of an emergency."

“Our Governor and State Legislature should be commended for moving this security funding process forward in such an expedient manner,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D. “These are funds we can use to bolster our facilities, training and field operations for the benefit of both San Pedro Bay ports and the myriad of agencies that provide our multi-layered security network.”

Matthew Bettenhausen, executive director of the California Office of Homeland Security, who announced the security grants, said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has worked extensively with the State Legislature to increase funding to secure California’s ports.

“The threat to our port system is one of the most fundamental challenges we face,” Bettenhausen said. “The threat to California’s economy is very real if our port system is vulnerable to a terrorist attack.”

The grant money represents the first homeland security funding available from California’s Proposition 1B, passed by California voters in November 2006 to improve air quality and goods movement, and enhance the safety and security of the state’s transportation system. The Port of Los Angeles received the single largest chunk of the $40 million in total security funding announced today.

The projects to be funded at the Port include a new vehicle inspection facility where, among other things, a new X-ray imaging system will be used to examine commercial vehicles bound for the World Cruise Center. Law-enforcement agencies also will benefit from new boat-mooring docks and piers, a mobile air-compressor system for divers, training classes in maritime security and a state-of-the-art system for electronically tracking personnel as they operate at the Port and in surrounding communities.

Here’s an allocation breakdown of the $10,060,000 that the Port of Los Angeles will receive from the state’s Proposition 1B security funding:

  • Commercial vehicle inspection area with X-ray imaging system -- $3.864 million
  • Electronic “Blue Force” tracking system that will enable command and dispatch centers to see where police cars, boats and other equipment are located at all times -- $3.375 million
  • Temporary mooring and dock facilities for multi-agency law-enforcement vessels, to facilitate joint agency operations -- $2.377 million
  • Maritime training for law enforcement -- $450,000

The Port of Los Angeles, also known as “America’s Port,” has a strong commitment to developing innovative strategic and sustainable operations that benefit the economy and the quality of life for the region and the nation it serves. A recipient of numerous environmental awards, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2007 Clean Air Excellence Award, the Port of Los Angeles is committed to innovating cleaner, greener ways of doing business. As the leading seaport in North America in terms of shipping container volume and cargo value, the Port generates 919,000 regional jobs and $39.1 billion in annual wages and tax revenues. A proprietary department of the City of Los Angeles, the Port is self-supporting and does not receive taxpayer dollars. The Port of Los Angeles - A cleaner port. A brighter future.