Homeland Security

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Chemical protection suits, night vision goggles, radiation detection equipment and an E-911 emergency phone system are just a few of the items requested by Alabama counties as the state prepares to divvy up about $37 million in federal Homeland Security money.

Alabama Homeland Security Director Jim Walker says the state plans to spend about $17 million of its Homeland Security money to help law enforcement agencies beef up communications systems so that police in one community can talk to police or firefighters in the next town.

But he says a portion of the money would be distributed among Alabama's counties, ranging from $75,000 for smaller counties up to $860,000 for Jefferson, the state's most populated county.

Requests from the counties will be relayed from Walker's office to federal officials, who will give final approval to the projects.

Walker said one purpose of the process used to distribute the money was to get law enforcement officers and emergency response officials in counties to work together to decide their most pressing needs.