SINTON – County commissioners filled a Homeland Security Advisory Council position left vacant by former San Patricio County Sheriff Leroy Mood last Monday.
According to their website, the Homeland Security Advisory Council provides organizationally independent advice and recommendations to the secretary, including the creation and implementation of critical and actionable policies for the security of the homeland.
The site also stated that it conducts research and provides policy analysis and recommendations on a variety of security issues as well as evaluates the impact of security related public and private policies in an attempt to formulate prospective security policies.
The county’s new representative, San Pat County Emergency Management Coordinator Sara Williams, was appointed by commissioners on Sept. 30.
Williams explained, “We get a allocation of money from the Department of Homeland Security through FEMA, It funnels down through the Texas Department of Emergency Manager and we have this committee that all gets together and we review projects that are proposed by our local entities here, and score those projects based on the criteria that were given for the program.
“And then we will send those that meet the criteria and score highest back to them, and then they’ll tell us which ones will be funded.”
She added that funds go to things like getting new bomb squad equipment for the Corpus Christi Police Department or a new generator for an emergency facility.
With County Judge David Krebs talking a lot recently about ramping up security at the courthouse, as well as preventing recent cyber attacks, could Williams get funds to aid in that kind of security?
“So we would have to put together a proposal for what we want to be funded and then I can take that and propose it to that council along with all the rest of them.
“Between now and January is when everybody’s going to be working on projects, so I know that we have some issues here so we may be looking at doing some stuff.
“We’re looking at maybe doing a project with our IT Department to deal with the cyber security related stuff.
“So we’ll probably put one or two proposals in this year.”
Williams said that it’s a competitive field for agencies, cities and counties in the area to get their proposals in and funded but she’ll do her best to get this county’s needs taken care of.
“Sheriff Moody had served as the chairman of that committee for a long time and with his retirement it left a gap where we didn’t have representation.
“So they wanted to put me on there already so I can be part of the scoring committee.”
Paul Gonzales is the editor at the News of San Patricio and can be reached at 361-364-1270 or at mathisnews@mySouTex.com.