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Police grants: What’s being federally funded in 2018?

Here's a summary of federal funding in 2018 for law enforcement agencies


Don’t let the news regarding the current political climate distract you from preparing for future grant opportunities. Despite not having an approved federal budget in place, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has already posted its FY18 Program Plan, along with the estimated release dates for request for proposals to be published.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has three grant-making components:

  1. Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS);
  2. Office of Justice Programs (OJP), comprised of six bureaus and program offices;
  3. Office on Violence Against Women (OVW).

These three agencies are responsible for awarding federal financial assistance to support law enforcement and public safety activities in state, local and tribal jurisdictions to:

  • Assist victims of crime;
  • Provide training and technical assistance;
  • Conduct research;
  • Implement programs that improve the criminal, civil and juvenile justice systems.

The congressional appropriation that supports DOJ's programs and operations reflects the priorities of the President, the attorney general and Congress.

The DOJ Program Plan is a tool to help applicants and grantees find funding opportunities (solicitations) that address their criminal, juvenile and civil justice needs.

What funding opportunities are in the DOJ plan?

Q1: Oct/Nov/Dec 2017

Plans for this quarter support various efforts under the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW).

Program highlights include emergency planning efforts for juvenile justice residential facilities, supervised visitations and safe exchange programs, and research to improve forensic science for criminal justice purposes.

Q2: Jan/Feb/Mar 2018

OJJDP and the NIJ programs will dominate funding notice releases early in 2018. Look for a host of programs related to juvenile treatment courts, mentoring programs, and gang and violence prevention, along with the highly competitive Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program.

Expect the release of the National Criminal History Improvement Program (NCHIP), which could support records management improvements.

Q3: Apr/May/Jun 2018

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) returns to its normal spring release after early postings during the presidential transition in 2017.

It is anticipated that we will see grants under Community Oriented Policing that may have traditionally been released under BJA. This includes programs like the body-worn camera initiative, the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program and funds to improve police-community relations.

Please note: It is not uncommon for the various programs to accept grant applications prior to the approval of the FY18 budget. However, the awards will not be granted until the funding has been approved and the proposed projects are subject to change.

Q4: Jul/Aug/Sep 2018

Program awards are expected to be announced during this period.

Proposed budget highlights

1. Department of Justice (DOJ) FY18 proposed budget

The bill funds DOJ at $29 billion, an increase of $349 million above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level.

Within this amount, funds are increased for the highest-priority grant programs, including:

  • $527 million for the Violence Against Women account (an increase of $46 million);
  • $500 million for Byrne Justice Assistance Grants (an increase of $104 million);
  • $220 million for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (an increase of $10 million).

2. Community trust initiative

The recommendation includes $65,000,000 for a program to improve police-community relations. Included in this initiative is:

  • $10,000,000 for the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program;
  • $25,000,000 for justice reinvestment;
  • $22,500,000 for a body-worn camera partnership initiative;
  • $7,500,000 for research and statistics on community trust.

3. Opioid abuse

The recommendation includes $118,000,000 for programs to reduce opioid abuse, which is the full amount authorized by the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 (CARA; Public Law 114-198). Within this amount is included:

  • $43,000,000 for drug courts;
  • $7,000,000 for veterans treatment courts;
  • $12,000,000 for Residential Substance Abuse Treatment;
  • $14,000,000 for prescription drug monitoring;
  • $12,000,000 for the Mentally Ill Offender Act;
  • $30,000,000 for other programs authorized by the bill.

4 tips on preparing for FY18 funding opportunities

Follow these four tips to prepare your police agency to maximize FY18 funding opportunities.

1. Educate yourself about the funding priorities

The best way to determine the right funding options for projects in your area is to contact your State Administering Agency (SAA) to obtain detailed program information.

The link above contains information about the lead agency to help users better understand the grant priorities and methods for applying for funds.

Direct contact information is generally available for the key personnel members who coordinate funding for the following programs:

  • Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA)
  • National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
  • Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP)
  • Office for Victims of Crime (OVC)

Although the source of funding is the same at the federal level, each state prioritizes how the funds will be used according to local trends. If you are unable to locate a copy of the local priorities online, reach out to the SAA for details.

2. Register for online grants-related portals

Most grant applications are submitted online and require various administrative steps be taken. Check program websites or review previous request for proposals (RFP) to obtain registration requirements in advance. Some systems can take 2-3 weeks to validate registrations.

3. Sign up for email notifications

Many online resources offer users the option to sign up for email notifications so you don’t miss important deadlines. Take the time to specify the type of information you wish to receive and the frequency of the notices so you aren’t bombarded with emails.

4. Sign up for free grants assistance from PoliceGrantsHelp

The PoliceGrantsHelp grant assistance program includes a number of options for departments seeking assistance in securing grant funding. Grant assistance is available by filling out a request form from one of the major police category segments.

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