Following up an in-depth March 8 story examining federal homeland security grants, the nonprofit Texas Tribune has posted a searchable database online that allows visitors to see how cities and counties in the Lone Star State have used anti-terrorism and preparedness grants since 2003.

The Center for Investigative Reporting made the records available to the Austin-based news organization after obtaining them from the Texas Department of Public Safety using open-government laws. Tribune data guru Matt Stiles built the easy-to-use application that enables visitors to compare grant spending per capita, from tiny Loving County ($1,144 for every resident) to the county surrounding the Texas capital (about $1 for each resident).

The database can also be used to search by community for a detailed list in each of actual purchases totaling more than 25,000 expenditures statewide. In Bexar County where San Antonio is located, for example, authorities spent $350,000 on an armored-response vehicle. In the sample box here you can see a $68,000 “WMD kit,” i.e. weapons of mass destruction.

Reporter Brandi Grissom’s main story pointed out that big cities weren’t the only ones to indulge in such high-priced items. A small county southeast of Dallas with fewer than 8,000 people also scooped up a fortified military-style truck. Grissom’s reporting showed that the city of Houston paid professional filmmakers $194,000 for a 22-minute movie on disaster preparedness. Read the story for much more.

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G.W. Schulz is a reporter for Reveal, covering security, privacy, technology and criminal justice. Since joining The Center for Investigative Reporting in 2008, he's reported stories for NPR, KQED,, The Dallas Morning News, the Chicago Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, Mother Jones and more. Prior to that, he wrote for the San Francisco Bay Guardian and was an early contributor to The Chauncey Bailey Project, which won a Tom Renner Award from Investigative Reporters and Editors in 2008. Schulz also has won awards from the California Newspaper Publishers Association and the Society of Professional Journalists’ Northern California Chapter. He graduated from the University of Kansas and is based in Austin, Texas.