Colorado has not done enough to ensure that local fire and police departments are trained to respond to terrorist attacks or other disasters, says a soon-to-be-released Department of Homeland Security report quoted by the Denver Post. The report questions use of more than a quarter of the homeland security grants the state got from 2003 to 2006. “Because the state did not monitor equipment readiness and has not implemented effective exercise and training programs, it has little assurance that critical response components, such as medical, health and mutual aid systems will be effective when responding to emergencies,” the report said.
Colorado officials say Gov. Bill Ritter has been fixing the problems outlined in the report, restructuring the state’s homeland security program and bringing in new leaders to make changes. “When the Ritter administration took over, we knew there were problems with the homeland security grant program,” said Ritter spokesman Evan Dreyer. “We have taken many, many steps to address those problems.” The DHS report says the state still doesn’t have adequate oversight of its grant program and hasn’t shown that it’s complying with its own homeland security strategy. The report, which deals only with Colorado, focuses on 2003 to 2006, a controversial period in the state’s homeland security program that spawned investigations and feuds between Gov. Bill Owens and state lawmakers.