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Audit finds holes in state's security

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – A new state audit released Thursday finds numerous deficiencies in Missouri's homeland security program.

State Auditor Claire McCaskill says Missouri has spent just $72 million of the $175 million federal dollars it received for homeland security since the September 11 attacks.

She says the state is doing a poor job training first responders.

McCaskill says more than a thousand protective suits were found unopened in Kansas City and St. Louis.

They were not on site at police departments and when asked why they were still in boxes in warehouses, the agency said well, we really haven't been trained on how to utilize them, McCaskill said.

But Public Safety Director Mark James says the problems were inherited:

"That's clearly not the way my department does business now," James said. "Would we have made those same decisions and handled it in that same way? No, we would not have. In most instances, we concurred with the auditor's finding."

James says emergency communication is his top priority, adding the state has dedicated $10 million towards coordinating radio frequencies.

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