Sourcing grants and grant funding for “smart” mobile phones and related service contracts should be treated as any other technology project for law enforcement. A smartphone is a mobile phone that offers more advanced computing ability and connectivity than a basic feature mobile phone.
In order to figure out which grants your department should target to fund smart mobile phones, start thinking about what type of problem this equipment will solve and who is the target population to benefit from this project in your community.
“I would suggest that the department look at local corporate foundations such as from the insurance industry, transportation companies, cell phone companies and perhaps some pharmaceuticals if the purchased equipment will be used in drug investigations related to prescription drugs” said Denise Schlegel, a law enforcement grant consultant.
Another option is to look at your community foundations to see if they are interested in helping to sponsor this type of law enforcement equipment that helps make the community safer.
Samantha Dorm a Grant Manager in York County, Pennsylvania agrees. She also thinks most smart phone grant projects “may have to be budgeted under program specific grants such as phones for community policing officers, specialized units, or even as a part of a technology integration project.”
If not program specific, departments may want to look at utilizing their JAG funds. The JAG program, also known as the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG), supports funding for all components of the criminal justice system, from multijurisdictional drug and gang task forces to crime prevention and domestic violence programs, courts, corrections, treatment, and justice information sharing initiatives. 60 percent of this federal grant is allocated to every State and the remaining 40 percent is set aside to directly fund units of Local governments.
Things to Think About
True with any grant project your department will need to think about all of the costs associated with your smart phone project. Particularly with a mobile phone project, you will need to determine up front the type of info that is going to be accessible through the mobile units. Since there are specific guidelines for accessing criminal history info, disseminating info, etc the required security pieces may involve more of a financial investment upfront then just the regular data networking plan after installation.
And after the grant award period your department needs to make sure your can afford the on-going service plan. Think about how you are going to maintain the funded project after the grant award has finished. Many times this means maintaining the service plan and the maintenance of the acquired technology.
If you need more specific help or information on grants for smart phone projects feel free to email the team at PoliceGrantsHelp.