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4 keys to writing winning police technology grants

Without good strategic planning, your department won’t have a good roadmap for the future

Police departments need many things. Personnel, vehicles, tools, and technology are just a few of the resources required to keep our communities safe. Grants are made available to enhance, expand, and improve upon our law enforcement strategies and approaches.

Creating a sound, justified, and fundable proposal for the purchase of these items takes long-term planning, knowledge of current law enforcement scientifically-proven approaches, and a strong demonstration of the need for the grant funding.

Funders are seeking applicants which have demonstrated the ability to administer effective fiscal management though organizational strategic planning and innovative internal capacity development. Every department — large or small — must have a published strategic action plan. 

Each Criminal Justice Advisory Board (CJAB) is expected to make recommendations for their criminal justice system based on local data including an assessment of what is needed to address the crime under their purview. Law Enforcement strategies that deal with gangs, violence, drugs, Part I and Part II violent crime, etc., are presumed to be coordinated with the CJAB, task forces, and the state strategic plan. This holistic approach to addressing community needs leverages and utilizes scarce resources (personnel, tools, technology and money) in the most effective way.

The challenge is to set the department up for successful grant writing long before the grant is open for application. This is particularly true for technology purchases. When writing a grant with a technology component, the department must consider the following:

1.    Strategic planning must address the acquisition and disposition of all assessed needed technology within the department.

For example: The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) recommends that department appoint a Police Technology Unit (PTU) composed of patrol officers charged with the evaluation and testing of new or proposed technology for the department. The PTU is responsible for strategic, budget and project planning for the department. Upgrades, replacement and new investments all require short and long term planning. This unit will aid in planning for new investments and determine the need for grant funding. This process will also assist the department to avoid short-term fixes instead of careful planning. To learn more about this recommended process click here.

2.    Develop a case statement for funding for technology identified in your strategic planning process

A case statement includes an introduction to the department, demographics and crime statistics, identification of community and departmental needs, description of how the department will utilize the grant funds, a cost benefit analysis for the selected project approach or policing strategy which will incorporate the technology and a description of how this grant project aligns with the department and state’s strategic plan for law enforcement. It’s imperative that your department “strategically think through” technology needs and build a justified case statement for each project. For more information go to http://www.policegrantshelp.com/Columnists/Denise-Schlegel/articles/4108026-Police-grants-Building-a-funding-case-statement/ 

3.    Integrate your technology needs into a policing strategy or new initiative to address specific issues within your jurisdiction. All technology must be logically and justifiably linked to your crime data, community, and department identified in your planning process.

4.    Develop a successful grant proposal. This simple statement is essential for the critical

The Pennsylvania Commission on Crimes and Delinquency (PCCD) is Pennsylvania’s link between the criminal justice system and funding.  This Commission provides technical assistance, research, and facilitates collaboration and strategic thinking in PA concerning our criminal justice system.  Paul Leeper of PCCD offered sound advice concerning grant applications and technology. In addition to conferring with me on the concepts described above, he also recommends to the law enforcement community the following:

•    Read the grant announcement and related documents very carefully to understand the directions and requirements fully
•    Always define your abbreviations
•    Before you begin your application create a summary of your entire proposed project, including the problem to be addressed (Case Statement for Funding)
•    Explain your concepts clearly so anyone outside of the law enforcement industry can understand your application
•    Be very clear about HOW the money will be used to implement your proposed project, the approach you will use, clear goals related to the problem and define expected outcomes. 
•    Always make sure your expenditures in the grant are allowable costs within the grant funding
•    Complete a cost-benefit analysis to assure the grant funds will be used in an effective manner
•    Make sure your project aligns with your State plan, CJAB and your strategic plan
•    Make sure you provide contact information and that the contact is readily accessible

The best time to begin a grant application is when you complete your due diligence in the planning process. Locate your state plan, your local CJAB plan, and complete your own internal strategic planning process. 

Within your plan you will have identified your policing strategies, department needs and goals, and aligned your plan with both CJAB and your state. Once this has been completed you can begin to build a case statement for funding for each need (project) identified which will need grant funding to assist with implementation.

Without good strategic planning, your department won’t have a good roadmap for the future. 

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