County to receive National Security Investments

by Sidney Herald

As a senior member of both the Senate Homeland Security and the Senate Appropriations Committees, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., has secured nearly $5 million from the Department of Homeland Security to help Montana law enforcement to bolster security along Montana’s 540-mile border with Canada.

The funding includes $60,000 for Richland County, $50,000 for Dawson County and $58,250 for Roosevelt County.

“Terrorists and criminals will find and exploit any weakness we have,” Tester said. “That’s why we can’t just focus our efforts on securing the southern border, we must also ensure the safety and security of our northern border as well. Our national security depends on it.”

As ranking member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, Tester oversees the Department of Homeland Security budget and successfully fought to increase funding across the board from the following security initiatives:

FY 2017 State Homeland Security Program (SHSP): $3,752,000

The SHSP helps states increase training, purchase equipment, and boost preparedness among local law enforcement agencies to defend against terrorist attack and other national security threats. Tester secured more than $3.7 million through SHSP this year, which the Montana Department of Emergency Services plans to put towards acquiring new emergency power sources and generators, outfitting local police departments with better vehicles and safety equipment, and upgrading communications equipment and interoperability across the state.

FY 2017 Operation Stonegarden (OPSG): $1,058,250

The OPSG program provides funding to enhance cooperation between local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies that defend our nation’s borders. Tester secured more than $1 million in OPSG funding this year, which will be allocated to communities across northern Montana. Tester successfully fought to maintain funding for Operations Stonegarden Grants, despite White House efforts to gut funding earlier this year.

“As a small agency on the highline we are very grateful for the Stonegarden grant. We use it primarily to offset equipment costs and pay overtime,” said Glacier County Sheriff Tom Seifert. “One of the great results of the Stonegarden grant has been the relationship we have built with Border Patrol. It has created a working relationship that has helped us work with them to keep our communities safe.”

Tester will address these same priorities with the president’s new nominee for Secretary of Homeland Security.