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Richmond gets $690,000 Homeland Security grant to strengthen port

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Richmond, Va. (WTVR) -The Richmond Police Department applied for Homeland Security grant money intended to help strengthen the city port. 

The department was awarded the grant money and one of its expenditures was the purchase of a $170,000, 25-foot Boston Whaler boat. 

The boat is not for fishing, but rather, for policing. It’s currently at the City Garage where it’s being equipped with infrared cameras and other devices.

Alan McLean, coordinator with the City of Richmond’s Emergency Management says in 2009, the federal government’s Homeland Security division was offering grants to assist local government from terrorists attacks – and ports, they said, were particularly vulnerable.

“There were three objectives we wanted to pursue with the grant," said McLean.

"First, we wanted to exercise the policies and procedures of the port. Two, we wanted to enhance the security of the waterways - which brings in the boat, and three, we were able to enhance the security for the port in terms of [security] cameras for the port," he said. 

McLean broke down the grant money expenses. He said that approximately $300,000 of the $690,00 dollars the city received went towards security cameras for the port, $170,000  went towards the boat and approximately $200,000 was spent on training to handle a terrorist attack.

“We had the coast guard involved in it. We had the FBI involved in it [and local law enforcement],” he said.

Chief Deputy John Buturla with the Richmond Police Department says once the boat has been upgraded, it will be docked at the Port of Richmond.

The boat was received three weeks ago.