3 grant opportunities that could fit your agency

Because most of these opportunities require a law enforcement component, you may be directly approached to partner with these agencies on their applications

Now is the time to check out the new federal grant opportunities listed on Grants.gov. Actually, it should be something you do on a weekly basis (at least) if you’re the grants go-to person at your agency. 

Right now, there are several large solicitations open from the Department of Justice and its agencies addressing a wide variety of issues facing departments and the communities they serve. Topic areas include domestic violence, use of DNA, mental health, and reentry for adults and juveniles, among many others. 

You (and your agency) may have never considered applying for some of these opportunities, but they could well be a very good fit with the appropriate partner. Because most of these opportunities require a law enforcement component, you may be directly approached to partner with these agencies on their applications.

1. The Office on Violence Against Women is offering “Grants to Encourage Arrest Policies and Enforcement of Protective Orders,” which is a great way work with your local domestic violence agencies, the courts, and other service providers to improve the coordination of effort in protecting these victims. 

2. The “Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program” offered by the Bureau of Justice Assistance is another opportunity to partner with local service agencies. Most police officers encounter people with mental health issues on a daily basis, so working closely with service providers in a joint effort can only lead to better outcomes.

3. Then there are those grants specifically designed for police agencies. Drawing on the idea of “work smarter, not harder,” the Office of Justice Programs is offering the Smart Policing Initiative grant opportunity. They are looking for innovative projects that effectively address very real crime issues, particularly those that can be accomplished even under a strained economic climate. 

The key word here is “innovative.” It isn’t enough that you want to buy equipment developed for a specific task, even if it is something you know will help you address your issues more effectively. There needs to be something unique about your project that will add to what is already known for crime control strategies and that can be replicated by other agencies with similar problems. 

Other terminology for this solicitation includes “analysis-driven” and “evidenced-based.” These requirements are common in many federal grant applications these days. Basically, it means you have done a complete and detailed analysis of your crime problem and have developed your initiatives based on this analysis. In order for something to be “evidence-based,” its effectiveness has to have been demonstrated, through approved research methodologies, to positively impact the problem. For obvious reasons, a qualified research partner is required for this opportunity.

One of the best things about this solicitation is that one of its two focus areas relates to body-worn cameras (the other is crime-based). This is currently a hot topic in law enforcement, and any agency awarded this grant will be able to purchase the cameras as well as receive training and technology support. Again, this is a research-focused opportunity and is expected to result in a lot of new information about the use of the equipment, which could lead to the development of new policies and best practices.

As you review each of the open grants, keep in mind the needs of your agency — now and in the future. Most of these federal opportunities will involve developing very detailed applications, and a lot of work will need to be done to put together a winning application. But these are the grants that can make a great deal of difference to your agency, so read each of the solicitations diligently and determine which ones to focus your efforts on. It will be well worth it.

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