Phoenix ranks higher for terrorism risk

PHOENIX - Phoenix has jumped up in the rankings when it comes to the list of Homeland Security's most at-risk cities for terrorism threats.

And it's not for the reasons you might think.

City officials say getting a higher ranking means the Valley gets an extra $1.5 million for public safety. And they made the trip to Washington D.C. to get it.

Phoenix councilman and Glendale firefighter Daniel Valenzuela brought his fight for public safety to the nation's capital.

"It's important to be accurately ranked to get what Phoenix deserves, to get what the Phoenix Valley deserves," he said.

Valenzuela and Phoenix mayor Greg Stanton took their fight to Homeland Security officials to argue to raise Phoenix's ranking when it comes to terrorism threats. In a presentation with other Valley leaders, they highlighted factors like our population and at-risk areas, including our airport and power plant.

Their pitch worked, Phoenix now ranks 15 out of the nation's major cities. Last year, it ranked 18.

"Some people may see this, and think, 'we just went from rank 18 to 15. Does that mean that there's a higher risk?' No, the answer's no. The risk has always been there-- and that was the point of going back to Washington D.C.," Valenzuela said.

Valenzuela says it made a difference to make a personal pitch for the Valley, showing up in person before Homeland Security officials. This year's total in funding from the grant now stands at $5.5 million.

"It brought 1.5 million in additional funding that will go to training, equipment. Funding that has a directive to be used for terrorism type incidents," Valenzuela said.

The funds will be divided up and then turned into Homeland Security for approval by the end of July. Officials say the money will then go to fire and police departments across the Valley.

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