COPS Hiring Program: What you need to know about this competitive police grant

The funding purpose is to hire and re-hire entry level career LEOs to preserve jobs, increase community policing capacities, and support crime prevention efforts

The COPS Hiring Program (CHP) is now accepting grant applications and is open to all state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies with primary law enforcement authority. The funding purpose is to hire and re-hire entry level career law enforcement officers to preserve jobs, increase community policing capacities, and support crime prevention efforts. The total funding an applicant can request is $125,000 to be used over a Period of Performance (POP) of 3 years. CHP is a competitive grant — you are competing with hundreds of other applications. Your application must comply with all of the requirements set by the USDOJ. When the application states “minimal”, “at least”, or “it is highly recommended” your application must exceed these suggestions, in order to be in the running for the award. 

Highlights for this year’s COPS Hiring Programs include:

  • Funds the number of officer positions equal to 5% of your actual sworn force strength (up to a maximum of 15 officers for agencies with a service population of less than 1 million; or, up to a maximum of 25 officers for agencies with a service population of over 1 million)
  • Provides 75 percent of the approved entry-level salaries and fringe benefits of each newly hired and/or rehired full-time officer, up to $125,000 per officer position, over the three year (36 month) grant period
  • Requires you to identify a specific crime and disorder problem/focus area and explain how CHP funding will be used to implement community policing approaches to mitigate that problem/focus area

The COPS Office strongly recommends that applicants register immediately on In addition, applicants are strongly encouraged to complete the SF-424 as quickly as possible. Any delays in registering with or submitting the SF-424 may result in insufficient time for processing your application. You may be excluded from eligibility if this is not completed right away! In addition, immediately update your Date Universal Numbering System (DUNS) and assure that your System for Award Management (SAM) is up to date!

Hiring categories include:

1. New officer positions
2. Rehire of officers who have been laid off
3. Rehire of officers who at the time of application are scheduled to be laid off

Priority consideration for funding will be given to those applicants who are requesting School Resource Officers, Homicide/Gun Violence Strategies, Homeland Security Problems or Building Trust.  Additional priority will also be given for those jurisdictions which have experienced an unanticipated catastrophic event or are a part of the President’s Priority Zone initiative.

Award details include:

  • Maximum award of $125,000 per officer position to be disbursed over 3 years
  • Requires at least 25% cash match
  • Applicants are encouraged to develop a step-down approach by using more COPS funds in the first year POP and gradually increasing the applicant share during the remaining POP
  • 3 year (36-month) year POP
  • Award is based on the agency’s current entry level salary and fringe benefits for full-time sworn officers. Any additional costs for higher than entry level salaries and fringe benefits will be the responsibility of the grantee agency.
  • Applicants must certify that they intend for support the COPS-funded positions with local funds for at least 12 months following the POP ending

Military Veterans
Under the FY 2016 CHP solicitation, a military veteran is defined as an individual who served on active duty at any time in the armed forces for a period of more than 180 consecutive days any part of which occurred on or after September 11, 2001 and who has been discharged or released from active duty in the armed forces under honorable conditions. Under 2016 CHP, new hire officer positions are not required to be filled by military veterans. However, applicants who commit to hiring or rehiring at least one military veteran (as defined above) will receive additional consideration for 2016.

School Resource Officer
If you are planning to hire School Resource Officers, you must comply with specific application requirements. These include the development or upgrade to a full and robust program with specifically determined goals, outcomes, targets and deliverables.

An SRO is a career law enforcement officer with sworn authority, deployed in community oriented policing, and assigned by the employing police department or agency to work in collaboration with schools and community-based organizations to (a) address crime problems, gangs, and drug activities affecting or occurring in or around an elementary or secondary school; (b) to develop or expand crime prevention efforts for students; (c) to educate school-age victims in crime prevention and safety; (d) to develop or expand community justice initiatives for students; (e) to train students in conflict resolution, restorative justice, and crime awareness; (f) to assist in the identification of physical changes in the environment that may reduce crime in or around the school; and (g) to assist in developing school policy that addresses crime and to recommend procedural changes.

If your agency is requesting officer position(s) in order to deploy SROs, then all of the grant-funded positions must be used to deploy full-time SROs; in order to request officer position(s) to deploy officers as SROs, you must select “School Based Policing through School Resource Officers” under “Child and Youth Safety Focus” as your community policing focus area in Section 6B, Question 6 of the application. If your agency selects this focus area and is awarded 2016 CHP funding, your agency will not be able to change the focus area of its community policing strategy post-award.

For details on how to develop and complete your application, strategy development, goals, objectives, outcomes and deliverables for a highly developed fundable application, please go to the following documents and websites and review carefully all the directions, recommendations and requirements for funding:

Program Outline
Application Guide
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Pre-Award Fact Sheet
MOU Fact Sheet
Invitational Letter

Professional tips:

  • Take advantage of all the rules, regulations, requirements and advice from the COPS materials and the COPS office and your chances of being funded will increase significantly.
  • Use the technical assistance tool provided
  • Review  for resources and information related to community policing
  • Assess and document your staffing needs and current strategic plan to determine how many officers you need based on your community need
  • Utilize the community assessment tool provided by the USDOJ
  • Gather your crime data to validate the need for expanded personnel
  • Meet with your grant team. police chief, finance office, and partners such as your schools to begin to develop your community policing strategies
  • Assess with the finance office if you can make the cash match required for this grant
  • Contact Policegrantshelp with any further questions you may have after review of all of the required documents related to this grant.

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