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Focus on the US Department of Justice

By Denise S. Schlegel

Many of my grant writing students are unaware of the full scope of resources available to them for grant writing and grant funding. Most of their grant writing needs may be found on the plethora of websites available through the US Department of Justice.

The US Department of Justice houses many bureaus and offices which support our nation’s interests to defend the legal interests of the United States. With the Department are several bureaus and offices which provide resources, research and grant funding to entities within the local justice system. The Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Office of Justice Programs along with the Bureau of Statistics are three of the DOJ divisions providing resources and grant funding for many justice entities at the local level. (www.usdoj.gov ) This article will focus on these three of the grant related entities.

The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) includes the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), the Office of Juvenile Justices and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, The community Capacity Office (COPS) and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART). The names of these offices clearly provide a guide to their separate missions. The OJP provides support to corrections, courts, juvenile justice, law enforcement, substance abuse and crime technology to fight crime, and victims of crime. Additionally it provides the outcomes of research, tools for statistics and research, and tools for valuation process.

The Office of Justice Programs provide innovative leadership to federal, state, local, and tribal justice systems by disseminating state-of-the art knowledge and practices across America and providing grants for the implementation of these crime-fighting strategies. Because most of the responsibility for crime control and prevention falls to law enforcement officers in states, cities, and neighborhoods, the federal government can be effective in these areas only to the extent that it can enter into partnerships with these officers. Therefore, OJP does not directly carry out law enforcement and justice activities. Instead, OJP works in partnership with the justice community to identify the most pressing crime-related challenges confronting the justice system and to provide information, training, coordination, and innovative strategies for addressing these challenges.

The OJP posts all current and archived funding announcements. If you are seeking grant funding and do not find it listed in either current or in the archives, chances are you will need to seek funding from federal or state resources or search for support from the private funding community. The topical areas of funding include American Indian and Alaska native affairs, corrections, courts, juvenile justice, law enforcement, substance abuse and crime, technology to fight crime, and victims of crime. Each topic has its own sources of information, research, and knowledge bases. Under the OJP topics on the right-hand side of the webpage, click on your topic and all of the funding opportunities, resources, publications and training and technical assistance for that topic are conveniently listed.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance supports law enforcement, courts, corrections, treatment, victim services, technology, and prevention initiatives that strengthen the nation’s criminal justice system. BJA provides leadership, services, and funding to America’s communities by:

Emphasizing local control.
Building relationships in the field.
Provide training and technical assistance in support of efforts to prevent crime, drug abuse, and violence at the national, state, and local levels.
Developing collaborations and partnerships.
Promoting capacity building through planning.
Streamlining the administration of grants.
Increasing training and technical assistance.
Creating accountability of projects.
Encouraging innovation.
Communicating the value of justice efforts to decision makers at every level.

BJA has three primary components: Policy, Programs, and Planning. The Policy Office provides national leadership in criminal justice policy, training, and technical assistance to further the administration of justice. It also acts as a liaison to national organizations that partner with BJA to set policy and help disseminate information on best and promising practices. The Programs Office coordinates and administers all state and local grant programs and acts as BJA's direct line of communication to states, territories, and tribal governments by providing assistance and coordinating resources. The Planning Office coordinates the planning, communications, and budget formulation and execution; provides overall BJA-wide coordination; and supports streamlining effort. The BJA is a great place to start your grant research, when you are considering a new law enforcement initiative, need to expand your own policing strategies, or need to understand what best practices and promising practices are developing in the field of law enforcement.

The BJA offers a full overview of all grant funding opportunities, provides online grant writing training, access to the Central Contract Registration as well as a grantee toolbox. Any police department with current grant awards, currently seeking funding, or just getting started with grant writing must become completely familiar with the grantee resources available. A lack of familiarity with these tools and resources could be the difference between a grant award and a grant turn down letter.

The BJA just recently launched the National Training and Technical Assistance Center. Eligible recipients of TTA services include law enforcement, courts, corrections, substance abuse and mental health services providers, justice information sharing professionals, crime prevention specialists and tribal communities. Many of the Justice grants have a training component attached to the program Every Police Department needs to explore this new website concerning training and technical assistance and grants.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics is your “go to location” for key facts about the field of justice, data collections, data analysis tools, terms,and definitions. It also holds a repository of publications and products which can offer guidance in grant development. These publications may offer justification for why you are approaching a grant project thus validating that your department is up-to-date with the law enforcement industry standards and practices. The data analysis tools are robust and dynamic and can assist with locating the data needed for your grant needs assessment. You can also use the tools to compare your data with national and state data. These tools can save you valuable time in doing the research needed for your grant.

Now that you are more aware of the resources offered by the US Department of Justice, your grant writing projects will be better prepared for the competition. The DOJ has created an enriched resource to support law enforcement and its partners in keeping up with the state-of-the art of justice. Please take some time to explore these resources before you have your next grant project or your first sitting on your desk. These resources will make your grant writing easier and much more competitive.

Best wishes with your grant writing endeavors!

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