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American Shipper

Palm Beach targets security funds

Palm Beach targets security funds

The Port of Palm Beach expects to use its $1.1 million share of funding from a $9.98 million Department of Homeland Security allocation for Palm Beach and Broward counties to improve port access security.

   Port officials said Friday the money would be used for a coordinated control center to oversee port access.

   Port Commission Chairman George E. Mastics also issued a statement expressing the commissioners' appreciation of the efforts to create a separate funding area for Palm Beach and Broward counties. The counties used to be included in a single region for South Florida, and most of that money has gone to Miami-Dade County since the creations of the DHS funding program.

   Mastics singled out the work of Congressman Clay Shaw, Palm Beach County Sheriff Rick Bradshaw, and Port of Palm Beach security officials Ken Hern and Carl Baker.

   Port officials estimate that since 9-11 the port and its users have had to pay for $4 million in security enhancement, as well as $2.1 million a year in increased operating costs, from the port budget.

   Port of Palm Beach executive director Lori A. Baer said the DHS funds will help the port maintain its already strong security program.

   'The Port of Palm Beach has been recognized by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement as one of the state's most secure ports, Baer said, 'and this important funding recognition by the federal government significantly furthers our ability to ensure safety and security.'

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