Lessons learned from helping police get funding
Over 200 cars were stolen in one year, and according to the UCRs, there were only 19 auto theft charges filed during that time period. Why should the funder continue to pay for the salary and benefits of a full time detective, plus program fees, if you’re not making arrests?
Fortunately the silence turned into a very animated and informative discussion.
When I requested the UCR’s from the Records Division, I specified Auto Theft, not charges stemming from the theft of an auto. Apparently, there is a difference. I didn’t realize that I should have been looking at a menu of possible charges ranging from receiving stolen property to insurance fraud.
In my mind, the civilian mind, I thought that my task to obtain funding for the Auto Theft Unit was pretty straightforward: car is reported stolen; an investigation begins; arrests are made; how many of each?
After more than a decade of working with law enforcement agencies across the United States, I was recently reminded of the importance of asking questions and listening to the client. But it’s a two-way street.
Whether you are working with in-house staff or contracting an outside grant writer, make sure that they have the information to accurately depict the work that is being done and what you are trying to achieve. Communication is an essential component of a rewarding grant collaboration process.
I had the pleasure of working with a team of law enforcement professionals who were willing to educate and learn. With a little bit of guidance, they were able to produce a sound argument to implement a new project. The funding was approved and I was proud to be a part of this experience as I continue my professional development.
I’m ready for the next challenge.
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