Grant to pay for chemical response team

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett County police will create a Chemical-Biological Response Team with a federal homeland security grant.

The county will also use $310,000 in grant money to buy new equipment to disarm and dispose of explosives and another $250,000 for equipment to protect five key sites in the county.

Police Chief Charles Walters said officers have already begun training for the Chemical-Biological Response Team, which will be used to combat terrorist activity and clandestine methamphetamine labs.

The team would not replace the Fire Department's Hazardous Material unit, which cleans chemical spills but would work on the enforcement side of those incidents, Walters said.

The county has allocated $345,000 of the county's $900,000 in homeland security grants for equipment and training of the new team.

"This is the first phase of a $44 million allocation to Georgia that was first announced in May," Gwinnett Chairman Charles Bannister said. "The money will help us protect our residents and equip our responders to deal with future terrorist actions."

Gwinnett's share in the grants was announced last week, but the specific use of the money was announced Tuesday.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, Georgia has received $251 million in funding from the Department of Homeland Security.