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Regional counter-terrorism task force facing elimination

Schumer and NFTA Counter-terrorism team.JPG
Chris Caya/WBFO News
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A key piece of the region's anti-terrorism task force is facing elimination by the Department of Homeland Security, according to U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. During a stop in Buffalo Tuesday, Schumer said DHS is planning to cut funding for the NFTA's counter-terrorism team of six officers and two explosive-detection K-9s.

With the recent Boston Marathon bombings and the Toronto terror plot involving a train that passes through Buffalo and Niagara Falls, Schumer says now is not the time to dial back on border and transit security.

"The terrorists will know what's going on. They follow everything. And if we don't have a kind of team like this at our border, who knows, they may make Buffalo more of a locus for border crossing and other types of terrible activity," Schumer said.

Funding runs out at the end of May and Schumer says so far the million-dollar grant to keep the unit going several more years has not been approved.  Schumer says he will use his influence in Washington to get the grant approved.

"This team has been successful. Most attempted terror plots here in Western New York are stopped in their tracks. Take them away and lord knows what would happen. We shouldn't let their success be a predicate for taking away their value here in Western New York. It just doesn't make sense," Schumer added.

The NFTA's counter-terrorism team patrols both regional airports, the Metro rail and bus lines, and coordinates anti-terrorism efforts with the Buffalo Police, FBI, DHS, and Customs and Border Protection.