Campus: SAN DIEGO -- April 19, 2006

SDSU Center for Homeland Security Receives $563,775 Grant from City of San Diego to Research Homeland Security Technologies

San Diego State University announced today it has received a $563,775 grant to evaluate potential homeland security technologies for local fire, law enforcement and emergency response agencies.

SDSU received the grant from the City of San Diego in partnership with the San Diego County Unified Disaster Council and the Regional Homeland Security Technology Partnership, following a similar startup grant for $25,000 earlier this year.

"The goal of the new project is to improve the region's homeland security preparedness by helping our first responder and emergency management personnel work together most effectively using the best available technology," said Bob Welty, director of homeland security projects for the SDSU Research Foundation and the project's program manager.

New and current staff from the SDSU Research Foundation and the SDSU Center for Homeland Security, which includes the SDSU Visualization Center and Center for Information Technology and Infrastructure (CITI), will preside over much of the project.

The grant's scope ranges from exploring technical areas such as geographical information systems and interoperable voice and data communication systems, to providing strategic technology planning services.

"For example, we will evaluate tools that can help different agencies in the region detect potential threats, respond quickly and precisely to disaster sites or other areas of need, and communicate large data sets - maps, video, or sensor information - across local jurisdictions," said Welty, who is also co-director of CITI and the SDSU Visualization Center along with SDSU geological sciences professor Eric Frost.

SDSU will provide independent assessments of potential homeland security technologies to the region's decision-making bodies so that technical solutions complement the region's homeland security strategy and are compatible with equipment used by different agencies. It will also establish a clearinghouse as a neutral source of information between agencies and tech companies offering competing products. Project staff will promote best practices in applying available technology to the various agencies.

"San Diego State University 's assistance will be invaluable to law enforcement, fire and emergency response departments across the county," said Jill Olen, deputy chief operating officer for public safety and homeland security for the City of San Diego . "Security is always a high priority, and resources are always a challenge. This project will help every local agency involved in protecting our communities make the most of their technical budgets by providing unbiased information necessary to develop common technical solutions."

The grant's funding comes from the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) program administered by the federal Department of Homeland Security. The City of San Diego serves as the administrative agent for the local UASI area, which includes all of San Diego County and every incorporated city in the county. The project is part of a regional technology partnership initiated in 2005 by agencies in the San Diego urban area to bolster homeland security efforts.

San Diego State University has partnered with local law enforcement and emergency response agencies on homeland security-related projects since 2003, when SDSU scientists helped monitor environmental conditions and hosted a national emergency response exercise called "Shadow Bowl" during Super Bowl XXXVII. SDSU also has been involved in security exercises or tests during other major events around the county such as the San Diego County Fair, the Gaslamp District's Mardi Gras celebration, Fourth of July San Diego Police Department operations, and Metropolitan Medical Strike Team exercises.

SDSU's Center for Homeland Security also has been instrumental in developing new techniques for attaining, processing and distributing high-resolution imagery in support of relief efforts after the 2004 tsunami in Banda Aceh , Indonesia , and during and after Hurricane Katrina. These efforts continue in advance preparations for emergency support to the San Diego region as well.

"We've believed for a long time that it is part of the university's obligation to the community to help the region enhance its homeland security preparations, whether we had funding for it or not," Welty said. "This grant will enable us to provide a whole new level of professional service to the region."

Contact: Jason Foster, SDSU Marketing & Communications, (619) 594-2585 office; (619) 992-0772 cell, foster@mail.sdsu.edu


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