Waycross, Not Ware, to Receive Big Grant; the Emergency Management Agency Takes the Blame for the $345,875 Miscue

Article excerpt

Byline: TERESA STEPZINSKI

The Waycross Police Department, not the Ware County Sheriff's Office as was announced incorrectly by Gov. Sonny Perdue, will be getting a $345,875 federal Homeland Security grant.

Officials with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency took responsibility Tuesday for what it described as a "miscommunication" that left Ware County Sheriff Ronnie McQuaig and his commanders puzzled as to why the department was getting a terrorism prevention grant that it had never sought.

Meanwhile, Waycross police were wondering what happened to their application for the grant intended to establish a law enforcement team trained to respond and investigate chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive attacks.

The grant also is to help pay for explosive device operations, according to the Homeland Security program.

The governor on Friday announced that several South Georgia police and fire agencies will share a total of $1,849,585 in the federal grants for training, equipment and emergency response plans to enable them to handle terrorist attacks or other disasters.

Based on information provided by GEMA, the governor identified the Ware County Sheriff's Office as the recipient of the $345,875 grant to establish the law enforcement response team as part of a local terrorism prevention initiative.

Ken Davis, a GEMA spokesman, said the grant was always intended for the Waycross Police Department, which had applied for it. The erroneous information resulted from an honest mistake, Davis said.

"I don't know exactly how it happened. But apparently it was a miscommunication between us and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation as to which agency was going to get the money," Davis said. …