Harris County Seeks Port Security Grants

Harris County is seeking more federal dollars for security at the Port of Houston. As Laurie Johnson reports — Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia says the port is a potential terrorism target and security is critical for the region.

Hundreds of law enforcement officers are in Houston this week for the Sheriff's Association of Texas conference. Sheriff Adrian Garcia met with other officers from around the state as well as elected officials.

Garcia says Harris County merits additional consideration for federal funding because the Port of Houston and the Houston Ship Channel are high profile targets for terrorism.

"We need to maintain a strong presence and vigilance so that would-be international or domestic terrorists would look away and reconsider their efforts. Because obviously, they will make an attempt if they can be somewhat successful. But presence of law enforcement personnel is always the strongest deterrence that any law enforcement agency could ever have."

Garcia met with Congressman Mike McCaul, who was also at the conference. McCaul says as the tenth anniversary of 9-11 approaches, the nation should be extra vigilant against attacks.

"Anniversary dates are important to them and we need to be very much cognizant of that as we go into the anniversary of September the 11th. And when you look at the threat in the state of Texas, it shouldn't go unnoticed that the largest killing since 9-11 was the killing of the 13 soldiers by Major Hassan at Fort Hood. Right here in the state of Texas, on our soil, at our military base."

McCaul and Garcia are working together to try to secure Department of Justice COPS grants for port security. Right now Harris County gets no money from the federal community policing program.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...