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Published: Friday, 3/14/2003

Officials seeking more terror data from state police


MONROE - Mitch Yudasz, Jr., wants to know what the state has planned in the fight against terrorism and how much federal money is available to help counties do the same.

But the director of the Monroe County Emergency Management Division said he and four of his colleagues haven't been able to get adequate answers. Monroe was one of five southeastern Michigan counties that turned to the Freedom of Information Act to get the Michigan State Police to share information about antiterrorism plans.

In a letter delivered to the state police emergency management division March 3, the counties say the state police have ignored at least three requests for documents in the past year.

“There has been such a lack of communication, not just on the part of the state but it goes all the way to the federal government as well,” Mr. Yudasz said. “There's really not such a solid line of communication coming down from the federal government to the state and then down to us. That's what we're trying to do, get information.”

Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw and Wayne counties are requesting the Statewide Domestic Preparedness Strategy Plan, a Michigan State Police Administrative Plan and several documents detailing federal funding for the state's terror attack preparations.

Led by Oakland County, the directors of the emergency response divisions said they felt the request was a necessary step to ensure they have the information they need.

State officials have until today to reply to the request.

“It is frustrating,” Gail Novak, chief of Oakland County's emergency response and preparedness division. “It's just an honest request for information. ... We just feel it should be open to us.”

Mr. Yudasz said there is concern that there is money available to individual counties that is not being funneled to them.

Mark Wesley of the State Police emergency management division said he was unsure why the counties felt the need to file the request. He added, “I do know that our staff is compiling the information.”

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