You Paid For It: Port security grants

Federal dollars funded local efforts to increase port security
Updated: Mar. 3, 2020 at 5:59 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Ports Authority says an average of six vessels sail into our state’s harbors every day, carrying cargo worth more than $150 million.

Local law enforcement are beefing up technology and training so they can better respond to port emergencies.

The federal Department of Homeland Security and FEMA awarded $100 million in port security grants in 2018.

$1.6 million was dispersed to South Carolina agencies. We asked how they used that money to make our ports safer.

Charleston Police is collecting bids to buy a new response robot.

They are looking for a mid-sized response robot compatible with hazmat chemical sensing equipment, can give live intel during an incident, and can deploy onto boats like cruise ships, cargo ships, and dredging barges.

The agency is using its $199,528 in port security grant to fund the purchase.

CPD is one of six SC agencies that received port security grant money. They are using the funds in a variety of ways:

-Charleston County bought smart phones, tablets and cameras for Port security incidents and for maintaining a 911 intelligence network that connects local law enforcement agencies.

-North Charleston Police bought a police boat and truck to pull it.

-The Department of Natural Resources is using its money for radios and bought an underwater remote operated vehicle for port security, homeland security, and search and rescue missions.

-The Ports Authority upgraded security systems, equipment and surveillance.

-Charleston County Sheriff’s office is buying training for local marine patrol officers to teach them how to safely chase and stop boats trying to escape law enforcement.

Click here for more information about the 2019 grants.

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