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Police grants: Building a funding case statement

This outline and subsequent questions will assist you with the development of a strong case statement and prepare your organization

In the world of funding, a good case statement will help you start your conversation with potential funders. Law enforcement organizations have funding opportunities with many potential funding partners: federal, state, private and corporate. This statement can assist your organization in the development of a sound grant application to any type of funder.

A well developed case statement will assist the department in developing and defining a project for funding and provide content for answering many questions on a grant application. The contents will provide many supporting reasons for the funding request. In the current economy, every grant application will need to be well justified, well reasoned and well supported by demonstrating strong internal management and planning capacity along with past success. Every separate funding project should have a well developed case statement prior to beginning any grant application and should become a part of the decision making process in strategic planning for your department.

The following outline and subsequent questions will assist you with the development of a strong case statement and prepare your organization. A case statement needs to be concise, well organized and usually not more than three pages.

Introduction to the department

  • Founded when and where 
  • Description of the department’s size and structure 
  • Define major department accomplishments 
  • List milestones in the department’s history 
  • Description of types of policing strategies in operation
  • Description of any department partnerships, workgroups, taskforces in the community 
  • List and describe any federal, state or private grants awarded to the department or with community partners

What are the demographics within the department’s jurisdiction? (Use tables and charts where possible)

  • Identify population numbers/characteristics of population 
  • Identify economic and community demographics (provide data about income, education, social issues) 
  • List types of Crime, Part I and Part II

Community needs:

  • What are the pressing problems within the jurisdiction? (Justify these problems with data and evidence)
  • What are the greatest challenges the population faces? (Describe how you came to understand these challenges are real with data and evidence)

Department needs:
• What are the pressing problems within the department? What data supports these problems?
• What are the greatest challenges the department faces? What evidence justifies that the challenges?

Planning process and decision making
Describe the department’s planning process for each of the following:

  • Based on community and department needs, what personnel, tools, technology and policing strategies have been selected and prioritized for this year and the next three years?
  • What are your goals for the department over the year, and the next three years for personnel, tools, technology, and policing strategies?
  • Describe your department’s life cycle plan for acquisition and disposition of tools and technology
  • Describe your department’s plan for personnel and training
  • Who participated in the planning process? How was the process implemented?

For each separate funding request develop the following statements
Describe your current resources to support this funding project as appropriate

  • Community partners/workgroups/taskforces
  • Other justice and/or law enforcement partners
  • Education resources
  • Tools/technology available
  • Department personnel

How will the funder’s investment be used?

  • Describe the specific problem to be addressed
  • Identify and define the specific data to justify this specific need for the funding
  • What specific policing strategies, personnel tools and or technology will your department use to address this problem?

Project Cost Benefit Analysis

  • For appropriate projects complete a cost benefit analysis for the selected project. This is currently required for specialized vehicle purchases/training/tools/technology purchases for many funding applications.

Defend the strategy for this project

  • Does this project align with your state’s strategic plan for law enforcement strategies?
  • Does this project align with current best practices and where appropriated scientifically proven law enforcement strategies for meeting your current pressing problem? (Cite the resource for your justification to defend your selected strategy)
  • Have you accessed all possible community resources and assets available by completing a community resource and asset survey?

Create a case statement for each funding need identified in your strategic plan and place it on your letterhead. Use the case statements to provide funding justification for your annual budgetary request, funding requests, donor request and strategic plan development. This process can really strengthen all of your funding requests.

Once you have begun to approach your funding needs by completing this process, your access to funding resources and your chances of obtaining financial resources will increase. Many departments receive ideas from officers and their community about what they “WANT” for the department and the community it serves.

It is a wise chief who accepts suggestions but requires the person with the idea to develop a case statement and then make the request. The chief and other decision makers in the department will be better able to integrate ideas for funding with a justified idea for the funding. This process was taught to me about 30 years ago and I have successfully used it with my staff, community members, politicians, partners and people with good ideas. It assists an organization to be better prepared in tough economy to go after any funding which might cross your desk. And there is nothing better than being well prepared!

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