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Chasing the mission, not the money

Chasing the money and not the mission can put departments into a difficult position. In the past few weeks, I have met several new community partnerships seeking grant funding. Two of the three asked me to meet with them to help answer questions about developing their application for funding. All of these grants were due by the end of March (less than three weeks away). One grant required a coalition which could demonstrate an actively working together for at least six month which was not possible. The challenge for all three of these groups was that none of their departments have developed a working strategic plan. Without a plan, it is nearly impossible to get funding from the federal, state or private funders. Attempting to submit a competitive grant application in four weeks is a daunting task and usually does not result in being awarded the grant.

Strategic planning is essential to funding. The plan is a tool that provides guidance in fulfilling your mission with maximum efficiency creating strong outcomes. A good strategic plan develops action plans, task assignment attached to specific goals. A Case statement is developed for policing strategy and is geared for fund development and grant funding to obtain the tools, technology and personnel needed to implement the strategies. 

The strategic planning process helps the department obtain a clear, comprehensive understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing the department. It provides a comprehensive assessment of the department’s successes over the past three years, identifies strengths as well as short comings and limitations. It takes a refreshed look at the current Part I and Part II of the crime data, evaluation and stock of current technology and tools and seeks to determine the personnel and training needs for the next few years.

Once the assessment process is completed, then goals and objectives a can be developed to define the desired outcomes for the next year. The strategies developed will define for the department “How the department will actually accomplish its work. An action plan is then critical to move these strategies the implementation phase. This becomes the “user guide” for the priorities selected.

Once your plan is in place, the department can then begin the process of developing a case statement for funding for each strategy, tools, technology or project. You may want to read making your case for funding  to review how to develop your case statements.

Knowing what funding you need based on strategic then allows your department to review the complete list of state and federal grants available for the upcoming year and begin to work on the grant application months ahead of the due date. There may be several grants in the upcoming year which would benefit your department. Mixing and matching grants with the community widens the opportunity for additional resources. For example, many communities have work together to dovetail the JAG; GREAT (gangs) Project Safe Neighborhoods (gangs, guns and violence), BJA Innovation Grant, Federal and State Surplus Programs, Drug Court, Community Justice Advisory Boards and Drug Free Communities Grant to create a comprehensive approach to community problems.

Chasing the mission by developing a department strategic planning process and dovetailing into the state strategic plan for law enforcement, along with the strategic plans related to drug and alcohol, mental illness and youth create a holistic community plan which has a profound impact on the entire community. Many people ask me why some communities “Seem to get all the Money”. The answer is comprehensive community planning among all the agencies, police departments, schools, government and nonprofits are the answer!

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