Keeping our Community Safe
Last week marked the 14th anniversary of the September 11th attacks on our nation. We will always remember the sacrifices of those who died innocently that day, as well as the valiant acts of heroism of rescue workers, intelligence professionals, and service members in the days, months, and years following.
Our nation and our world have changed drastically since that fateful day in September. Last week, a Florida man was arrested after allegedly plotting an attack in Kansas City to coincide with the 14th anniversary. Thankfully, due to the hard work of the FBI, intelligence professionals were able to prevent a dramatic loss of life from occurring.
This arrest last week highlights the ongoing threats facing communities outside the naturally perceived targeted major cities. People don’t think about it, but Kansas City is a prime target. That is why, on Tuesday, I sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, stressing the need for more anti-terror funding for the Kansas City area.
In the past, Kansas City has received funding from the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI). This money has been critical in developing and maintaining capabilities necessary to quickly and effectively respond to terrorist attacks and catastrophic events in the region. Unfortunately, this year Kansas City was not included in the list of recipients. We understand that tough decisions must be made that impact communities everywhere, but maintaining capabilities in urban areas with existing federal investments is a critical part of the national infrastructure.
Make no mistake: this federal funding is critical to ensuring Missourians remain safe and protected from terrorist threats. It is clear that Kansas City remains a terrorist target, and this funding will help better protect our city and region. I strongly urged the Department of Homeland Security to recognize the validity and serious need for this crucial anti-terror funding.
Every year, Missouri’s Fifth District hosts a wide variety of high-profile sporting and cultural events that require robust security and additional funding, such as last night’s Chiefs game, with attendance over 76,400. These events, in addition to the everyday threats our community faces, put us at high risk for a potential terrorist attack. In the post-September 11 world, our first responders and local law enforcement personnel face a new reality that extends beyond traditional emergencies. We, as citizens in our communities, have placed our safety and security in the hands of first responders, and it would be unconscionable to prevent them from having the tools they need to save lives.
Full text of the letter that Congressman Cleaver sent to the Secretary can be read here.