Seattle-area police and firefighters are adding their voices to the chorus complaining about the lack of federal support for maintaining anti-terror gear. Yesterday, they displayed an impressive stockpile, including gleaming black communication trucks, an armored personnel carrier, and a fire rig loaded with gear to handle almost any hazardous material, says the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. “The federal government has to be a strong partner with all of our first responders,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). First response agencies, she said, are being asked to do more, but the level of federal funding hasn’t kept pace. Congress has passed a $37.6 billion Homeland Security bill that provided some funding for local agencies, but Murray said it is not enough.
Murray said the Puget Sound region has a host of potential targets, from naval ports to major businesses. “We cannot be expected to come up with money locally for this expensive equipment,” she said. Officials said what is lacking from Washington is continuing financial support to maintain the gear, provide people to staff it, and train those who will be using it. Washington State Patrol Capt. Steve Sutton said that staffing several dozen anti-explosive teams in the state means there are fewer troopers patrolling state highways.