06/17/2011

Denise SchlegelSecrets to Getting Police Grants
with Denise Schlegel

Keys for successful JAG local grant application

In FY 2010, BJA processed 1,577 local and 56 state applications totaling more than $456 million in JAG funding

The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program (CFDA 16.738), administered by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), is the leading source of federal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions. The JAG Program provides states, tribes, and local governments with critical funding necessary to support a range of program areas including law enforcement, prosecution and court, prevention and education, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, planning, evaluation, and technology improvement, and crime victim and witness initiatives.

In Fiscal Year (FY) 2010, BJA processed 1,577 local and 56 state applications totaling more than $456 million in JAG funding (approximately $301 million to states and territories and $153 million to local units of government). All FY 2010 JAG awards were made by September 30th, 2010.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) calculates, for each state and territory, a minimum base allocation which, based on the congressionally mandated JAG formula, can be enhanced by (1) the state’s share of the national population and (2) the state’s share of the country’s Part 1 violent crime statistics. Once the state funding is calculated, 60 percent of the allocation is awarded to the state and 40 percent to eligible units of local government. For additional details regarding the JAG formula and award calculation process, with examples, please read the Jag Technical Report.

All 56 states and territories are eligible, as well as units of local government identified annually in the JAG allocation charts provided go to the JAG website listed above. JAG awards are four years in length; extensions are at the discretion of BJA’s Director. There is no match required. Applicants for JAG Local awards are limited to units of local government appearing on the JAG Allocations List. To view the local allocations list for the current fiscal year, go to: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/BJA/grant/10jagallocations.html

For this grant a unit of local government is: a town, township, village, parish, city, county, borough, or other general purpose political subdivision of a state; or, it may also be a federally recognized Indian tribe or Alaskan Native organization that performs law enforcement functions as determined by the Secretary of the Interior. Otherwise a unit of local government may be any law enforcement district or judicial enforcement district established under state law with authority to independently establish a budget and impose taxes. In Louisiana, a unit of local government also means the office of a district attorney or a parish sheriff. In the District of Columbia or any United States Trust Territory, a unit of local government is any agency of the District of Columbia or Federal government performing law enforcement functions for the District of Columbia or Trust Territories of the United States.

The amount listed on the eligible jurisdiction list is a one-time award amount. The project start date is October 1 of the federal fiscal year associated with the award, with a statutory four-year period in which funds may be spent. For an FY 2010 award, the project start date will be October 1, 2009 with a project end date of September 30, 2013.

The budget/project period for JAG awards is four years. For an FY 2010 award, the project start date will be October 1, 2009 with a project period end date of September 30, 2013. Grantees may begin to obligate funds from the grant start date onward if there are no special conditions in the award document that prohibit this.

The grant application requires a “Governing Body Review’. That means that your local government ( a city council, county commission , county board of supervisors or other legislative body at the local level) based on your local laws and procedures for providing the application to the governing body must review and approve your application at a public meeting. The manner in which you notified your governing body and the date this completed must be included in the Review Narrative portion of your application. A public comment period must be provided. The application must be submitted AT LEAST 30 days prior to submission of your application to the Bureau of Justice. Submit your application via GMS no later than the application deadline, regardless of whether the local review process is complete. If the application is not complete, or you do not meet the 30-day governing body review requirement, BJA will add a special condition to the award that will withhold grant funds until you submit documentation confirming the requirement has been met. The public comment periods may be any time prior to the application submission.

As this is a federal formula grant, there is a fund amount listing for joint applications in disparate communities. If your jurisdiction is listed with another city or county government, you are in a funding disparity. In this situation, the units of local government must apply for an award with a single, joint application. This means the disparate communities must work together to agree on funding amounts for each community listed and create a multi-community application. Each community may have its own priorities. A single budget must be developed and each community must create a memorandum of understanding (MOU) defining the amount and purpose of funding each community will receive. The partnership of the local law enforcement organizations must also select the governmental body with the best capacity to manage the grant award to be the lead organization for the application. This lead organization will manage the funds and provide for all of the reporting and management requirements to the Bureau of Justice. They will also receive funding for the cost of this administrative function.

The Bureau of Justice is strongly encouraging that state and local justice planning bring all stakeholders together to create a comprehensive and strategic justice plan to ensure coordination and there for a more effective justice system. In the grant world, that means that only those states and local justifications who are currently working to create a state-wide strategically planned use for local JAG funding will likely be awarded the grant funding. BJA has made resources available to each State Administering Agency to assist with statewide coordinated planning to assist in the identification and use of effective evidence-based practices with proven outcomes. The SAA can provide training and technical assistance to each state and their partners to create a state-wide approach for JAG funding.

The local solicitation lists the following Key Priorities for Local JAG funding:

  • Counterterrorism and Information Sharing/Fusions Centers
  • Evidence-based programs or Practices
  • Economic Crime
  • Reentry and SMART probation
  • Indigent Defense
  • Children Exposed to Violence
  • Interoperable Communications (Projects under this category must comply with the FY 2011 SAFECOM Guidance for Emergency Communications Grants which may be found at safecomprogram.gov)

This JAG funding may also be used for local initiatives, technical assistance, training, equipment, supplies, and contractual support and criminal justice information systems along with research and evaluation improvement. You may use the JAG funding for some types of police cruisers as well as police motorcycles. Other modes of transportation such as Segways and bicycles may be purchased without showing of extraordinary or exigent circumstances.

Performance Measurements must be discussed each application. The application should discuss the proposed methods for collecting data for performance measure. No performance data is required for the application. But all those funded will have to submit performance data in their quarterly reports. Applicants who receive funding under this solicitation must provide data that measures the results of their funded project.

You must use the following website to develop your plan for the collection of performance measures which must be included in your application! The performance measures required can be found at: www.bjaperformancetools.org/help/ARRAJAGandJAGCombinedIndicatorGrid.pdf.

Applicants must submit a program narrative that generally describes the proposed program activities for the four year grant period. The narrative must outline the type of programs to be funded by the JAG award and provide a brief analysis of the need for the programs. To complete this process you must demonstrate the need for the program using appropriate data and complete a cost-benefit analysis of the programs to demonstrate why this is the best approach. Narratives must also identify anticipated coordination efforts involving JAG and related justice funds. Certified disparate jurisdictions submitting a joint application must specify the funding distribution to each disparate unit of local government and the purposes for which the funds will be used.

All other application requirements for standard forms and certifications may be found in the JAG local solicitation. This application requires demonstrated strategic planning, input from all partners utilizing best law enforcement best practices and procedures. Each law enforcement organization must demonstrate project outcomes which benefit the community and the department. Make sure you address all of these issues prior to submitting your application. Only those applications with strong plans, demonstrated need, understanding of current law enforcement practices and sound performance measurement will be funded.

As always please contact PoliceGrantsHelp.com with any further questions you may have.

Best wishes with your funding endeavors.
Denise S. Schlegel

About the author

Denise is the founder and President of DSSchlegel and Associates LLC which provides grant writing training and support, community and organizational assessments, facilitation services, strategic planning, and curriculum development. She has more than 30 years of executive management experience in nonprofits, local government and law enforcement organizational supports. Denise has served as the law enforcement grant writing instructor for the Northeast Counter Drug Training center for the past 11 years. She is the author of “Grant Writing - Show Me the Money©”, the only CALEA certified grant writing course in the country.

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