Details continue to emerge on how the $787 billion economic stimulus package signed into law last month will affect police officers and law enforcement agencies. In a ceremony held in Columbus, Ohio late last week, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder joined President Obama in announcing $2 billion in funding allocations available through the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program.
“This funding is key to helping our states and local governments fight crime and keep our streets safe,” Attorney General Holder said. “The Department of Justice is moving ahead of schedule to allocate these resources so we can retain police officers, enhance law enforcement capabilities, and ensure that we have the tools and equipment necessary to build safer communities.”
JAG Program funds can be used for a variety of efforts such as hiring law enforcement officers; supporting drug and gang task forces; funding crime prevention and domestic violence programs; and supporting courts, corrections, treatment, and justice information sharing initiatives.
In documentation outlining the procedures to apply for this funding, the Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs said that the allocation of JAG grants is “based on a formula of population and violent crime statistics, in combination with a minimum allocation to ensure that each state and territory receives an appropriate share of funding. Sixty percent of the allocation is awarded directly to a state and 40 percent is set aside for units of local government. Funding will be used by states and more than 5,000 local communities to enhance their ability to protect communities and combat crime.”
Application eligibility, procedures, and important deadlines
• Applicants are “limited to units of local government listed in the Recovery Act JAG allocation list for JAG funds”
• The breakdown of JAG allocations for states, territories, and units of local government can be viewed by clicking here
• Applications must be submitted through OJP’s Grants Management System (GMS)
• Registration with OJP’s Grants Management System is required prior to application submission
• Applicants must obtain a “DUNS number” from Dun and Bradstreet prior to application submission
• Applicants, including those applying through GMS, must register with the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database
• All applications are due by 2000 hrs. (Eastern Time) on May 18, 2009
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Direct Assistance Request
Matching funders’ priorities wins grants
“Because of the competitive nature of grants the applications that best fit the funders’ priorities will receive awards,” Margaret Stark, a consultant who specializes in helping public safety agencies navigate the grant-writing process, told PoliceOne in an exclusive interview. “A needs-assessment is simply a prioritized list of the agency’s needs. This list is a valuable asset for your grant writer or grants team when identifying funding and choosing which grants are the best fit for your department.”
Since much of this funding will still be competitive, Stark said, agencies should also ensure that the individuals writing their grants are “at the top of their game.”
“It would be advantageous to take advantage of grant assistance and training to maximize their chances of awards. In addition, agencies will need to have a clear needs-assessment for their agencies to ensure the funding will be used for the most critical needs within their departments,” Stark told PoliceOne.
Recovery Act aimed at creating jobs
Among the stated purposes of the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,” the preservation and creation of jobs are considered paramount. The stimulus package contains about $4B intended to help state, local, and tribal police prevent crime and improve the criminal justice system in the United States, “while supporting the creation of jobs and much needed resources for states and local communities.”
In an attempt to highlight that prioritization, the ceremony at which these JAG Program details were announced included 25 Columbus, Ohio police recruits who had learned earlier this year that they would be let go rather than sworn-in. Because of Recovery Act JAG funds, these officers will keep their jobs protecting their community.
Law Enforcement in the stimulus package
$1 billion to fund local police officers through Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program—these grants will fund an estimated 5,500 local police officers through the COPS Hiring Recovery Program
$2 billion for Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants—this funding is “allocated by formula to State and local law enforcement agencies to help prevent, fight, and prosecute crime”
$225 million for Byrne competitive grants—these are “peer-reviewed giants to units of State, local, and tribal government, and to national, regional, and local non-profit organizations to prevent crime, improve the administration of justice, provide services to victims of crime, support critical nurturing and mentoring of at-risk children and youth, and for other similar activities”
$125 million Rural Law Enforcement—these monies are intended to “combat the persistent problems of drug-related crime in rural America. Funds will be available on a competitive basis for drug enforcement and other law enforcement activities in rural states and rural areas, including for the hiring of police officers and for community drug prevention and treatment programs”
$40 million for Southwest Border/Project Gunrunner—these competitive grants are “for programs that provide assistance and equipment to local law enforcement along the Southem border or in High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas to combat criminal narcotic activity, of which $10,000,000 shall be available, by transfer, to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives for Project Gunrunner”
$100 million for Victims Compensation—in the form of “formula grants to be administered through the Justice Department's Office for Victims of Crime to support State compensation and assistance programs for victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, drunk driving, homicide, and other Federal and state crimes”
$225 million for Tribal Law Enforcement Assistance—these grants are targeted to “assist American Indian and Alaska Native tribes, to be distributed under the guidelines set forth by the Correctional Facilities on Tribal Lands program. The Department is directed to coordinate with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and to consider the following in the grant approval process: (1) the detention bed space needs of an applicant tribe; and (2) the violent crime statistics of the tribe”
$50 million for the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force—this money is set aside to help State and local law enforcement agencies enhance investigative responses to offenders who use the Internet, online communication systems, or other computer technology to sexually exploit children
Contacts for assistance and additional information
The BJA toll-free phone number is 1-866-268-0079. A BJA E-mail account, JAGRecovery@usdoj.gov, will be checked hourly and a “response will be provided within one business day.” You may also contact a BJA State Policy Advisor at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/BJA/resource/stcont.htm, or Eileen M. Garry, Deputy Director for Programs, at 202–307–6226 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For technical assistance with submitting the application, call the GMS Support Hotline at 1–888–549–9901, option 3.