Sheriff to brief Owens |

Sheriff to brief Owens

Ryan Graff
Post Independent Staff

For the past two years Vallario has been chairman of the State Homeland Security Grant Review Committee, which last year recommended state approval of about $20 million in grant money. Vallario took the position two years ago after someone at the Colorado Department of Public Safety called and asked that he do it.

Vallario stayed on as chairman for a second year despite being charged with leading a very difficult process. During the course of each year, all 64 counties come up with a list of homeland security needs. Each of those counties presents its needs to one of nine homeland security regions. Then, during one two-day session each year, Vallario and 14 voting members of the Grant Review Committee decide what gets funded and what doesn’t.

“It’s very painful. … There’s a lot more being asked for than there is money,” he said.

The voting members of the committee represent each of the nine districts and some special-interest groups, such as law enforcement organizations or the Department of Agriculture, Vallario said. The committee also gets advice from organizations, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Vallario is quick to point out that he doesn’t dole out money. In fact, he hasn’t even cast a vote. He keeps the meeting going and plays devil’s advocate in certain circumstances. In case of a tie vote, Vallario has the deciding say.

Garfield County started addressing homeland security after 9/11 but likely hasn’t made much progress in preventing a terrorist or other attack, Vallario said. What the efforts have done, however, is better prepare the county to respond to an emergency.

The good that came from Sept. 11, if there was any, is that each emergency agency had to look at what it was capable of and what risks exist in its service area, Vallario said. In the past two years the county has come up with a list of vulnerabilities, and formed new organizations and partnerships to help respond to security threats.

Vallario will outline Garfield County’s most recent efforts for Owens at 11:30 a.m. today at the Garfield County Board of Commissioners meeting room at 108 Eighth St. in Glenwood Springs. Seating is limited.

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