Controversy Over Federal Grant System

The Homeland Security Department gave out more than $1 million in grant money to 20 local fire departments in 2005, but one fire chief says big-city fire departments take advantage of the system.

The Homeland Security Assistance to Firefighters grant program has fallen under criticism at a national level. Some say larger fire departments are simply trying to get a piece of the pie they don't necessarily need.

Pilot Point's fire department requested grant money to replace an aging ambulance, but were rejected. Neighboring fire chiefs echo that some departments may be trying to simply get funds because they're available, not necessarily needed.

Larger cities like Dallas, Houston and Oklahoma City received funding for safety, but these cities also have a larger tax base to help fund the departments.

Several local departments have not applied for the money at all most of the grant money in Texoma was allocated to departments in Grayson County as well as several throughout the southeastern Oklahoma region.

The firefighter assistance grants began in 2003, part of the post 9-11 homeland security program.