BJA body-worn camera grants for FY 2019 announced

The Bureau of Justice Assistance Body-Worn Camera Grant Program offers competitive grants for law enforcement across the country


The Bureau of Justice Assistance(BJA) within the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) just announced the opening of the Fiscal Year 2019 Body-Worn Camera Policy and Implementation Program to Support Law Enforcement Agencies Grant Opportunity.

A total of $18 million in competitive grants will be awarded to public agencies and national, state or regional organizations representing publicly funded law enforcement agencies. Grants can be used to implement a new body-worn camera (BWC) program or expand an existing program.

The Benefits of Body-Worn Cameras

Grants can be used to implement a new BWC program or expand an existing program. (Photo/PoliceOne)
Grants can be used to implement a new BWC program or expand an existing program. (Photo/PoliceOne)

Law enforcement agencies across the United States and around the world are seeing the benefits of body-worn cameras. Bodycams provide:

In addition, a growing body of research shows that the presence of BWCs can reduce the use of force by assisting in the de-escalation of conflicts.

Overall, the bodycam grant program furthers DOJ’s mission if promoting the safety of law enforcement officers and citizens.

FY 2019 Funding Opportunity

There are a few changes in the grant program over last year. These include:

  • An increase in the allowable federal funding per camera cap to $2,000 (up from $1,500);
  • Expansion of funding categories;
  • Revision of administrative requirements.

Read the grant solicitation in its entirety (also available below) and review resources on BJA’s website and the BWC Toolkit to familiarize yourself with the program before you apply.

Here’s a summary of this year’s opportunity:

Application Deadline: June 5, 2019.

Total Available: $18 million. Individual grant amounts vary by category.

Match requirement: 50% cash or in-kind.

Eligible agencies: Public agencies of state government, units of local government (cities, towns, counties, parishes etc.), and federally recognized Indian tribal governments that perform law enforcement functions. Additionally, any department, agency, or an instrumentality of them that performs criminal justice functions (including combinations of the preceding, one of which is designated as the primary applicant) may apply. Note that correctional agencies, primary and secondary school and college/university law enforcement are eligible provided the organization performs a law enforcement function and is publicly funded. Private schools, universities, correctional agencies or security entities are not eligible.

Applicant categories: Categories 1–3 are defined by the total number of sworn officers in your agency/agencies not by the number of BWC being requested.

Category 1: Implementation or expansion of BWC programs for small and mid-size agencies

Maximum award: $500,000.          

Maximum federal amount per camera: $2,000.

Applicants must be agencies with 250 or fewer sworn officers. Agencies may invite sub-recipient agencies to be included in their proposal, however, the combined number of sworn officers across all agencies must not exceed 250.

Category 2: Implementation or expansion of BWC programs for large agencies

Maximum award: $2 million.         

Maximum federal amount per camera: $2,000.

Applicants must be agencies with between 250–1,000 sworn officers. Agencies may invite sub-recipient agencies to be included in their proposal, however, the combined number of sworn officers across all agencies must not exceed 1,000.

Category 3: Implementation or expansion of BWC programs for extra-large agencies

Maximum award: $3 million.         

Maximum federal amount per camera: $2,000.

Applicants must be agencies with more than 1,000 officers. Agencies may invite sub-recipient agencies to be included in their proposal, however, the combined number of sworn officers across all agencies should be used to determine the category of funding.

Category 4: Implementation or expansion of BWC programs through state or regional consortia

Maximum award: $3 million.         

Maximum federal amount per camera: $2,000.

This is a new category for FY 2019. BJA seeks to leverage economies of scale by enabling a single organization to apply on behalf of component agencies. State and regional consortiums representing a group of law enforcement agencies would apply under this category. This leverages partnerships, collaboration and joint-acquisition strategies in establishing new programs or expanding existing BWC programs.

Examples of the lead applicant could be the State Administering Agencies (SAAs), state police, regional law enforcement agencies or major city or county agencies.

Funds are correlated to the number of cameras that will be deployed to all agencies within the consortium, not the total number of sworn officers required under Categories 1–3. Applicants under Category 4 must purchase at least 100 BWCs across the participating agencies.

Allowable Costs

It’s important to understand how your agency can use the funding to cover BWC program needs.

The $2,000 of federal per unit maximum is not the expected costs of the camera itself. Paired with the matching funds, it is the maximum federal dollar amount for one camera system. This could include the camera, storage, software, licenses, services, policy development, training and travel to conferences. The Camera-Based Funding Metric Formula and Examples document explains this in more detail.

Note on Data Storage Costs

As in past years, the federal funds cannot be used to cover data storage costs. However, BJA recognizes that BWC systems are often bundled or sold as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) with no line item distinction in data store costs. Those procurements with bundled costs as noted above can be covered with the federal funds. Storage costs can also be proposed as part of your required matching funds.

Other Important Application Requirements

  • Agencies employing BWC must have clear written policies in place that address relevant state law, privacy rights, data retention and public release of video. footage. If not and you are awarded a grant, you will only have access to 10% of your grant funds until you have these policies in place.
  • Include a letter from the applicants and subrecipient authorized agency official affirming regular review of BWC footage to improve officer safety.
  • Include memorandums of understanding or letters of support from all subrecipient agencies.

We encourage you to work with your law enforcement partners across your area and apply for funding to support your body-worn camera program.  

The team at PoliceGrantsHelp is ready to help. Our grant assistance program includes several options including grant writing and grant application review. 

BWC19 by Ed Praetorian on Scribd

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