Tie public schools and public safety together

Lorin Bristow, a partner at Galain Solutions, a firm that helps public safety organizations secure grant funding, says that police departments have a very good opportunity to secure money in the U.S. Department of Education allotment of the so-called “stimulus package” for the purchase of mobile data networking infrastructure.

Bristow tells PoliceOne that one of the originally stated intents of the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, which is distributed through the Department of Education, is to help “stabilize state and local government budgets in order to minimize and avoid reductions in education and other essential public services.”

“It’s kind of strange to think about using [education funding] for buying public safety equipment, but you have to tell the message beyond the technical capacity — it may be more of a political kind of a message that has to be sent here, both up the chain and as well as to the surrounding communities as to what some of the benefits to the investment are. For other grants, for other types of monies, that’s not really necessary because it’s more obvious. But that’s part of why the juvenile delinquency part of this seems to be getting lots of play. There’s a natural tie, of course, with education and youth and juvenile delinquency that makes this palatable and makes it workable in many communities.”

Bristow confirms that just one example of such thinking might go like this:

Your “pitch” could be to put into your local schools some form of mobile data infrastructure that will enhance the classroom and the campus. Maybe that’s some 802.11 WiFi infrastructure, maybe it’s some other form of wireless data connectivity backhaul. The point is that you’re addressing a need that helps the community’s youth in a positive way, with the intent to prevent juvenile delinquency. At the same time, you add to the purchase proposal a plan to extend that mobile data connectivity infrastructure to other areas of the town so that public safety agencies can use the technology to respond to crime, juvenile delinquency included.

“There probably are plenty of other good ideas of how you could tie public schools and public safety together with a single purchase, but that gets you thinking in the right direction,” Bristow says.

What do you think? Add your comments below to let us know what your agency is doing to secure funding for mobile data infrastructure purchases.

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