Therese Matthews
Author: Therese Matthews

The U.S. Department of Justice has recently published its Program Plan of grant opportunities for this fiscal year-FY 2019. While we await final approval of this Department’s FY 2019 budget, the agency has already begun opening some of its grant opportunities – many more are expected to open in the next month or two.

Now is the time to review the Program Plan to determine which grants you may be eligible to apply for and engage in your project planning with fellow law enforcement and other community partners.

To make your grant research even easier, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) – the largest federal granting agency for criminal justice agencies – has published a document outlining anticipated FY 2019 grant solicitations that support law enforcement.

Here’s a summary of these BJA grant opportunities, the anticipated funding amounts and tips on the types of program initiatives that might be awarded under each program.

Body-Worn Camera Policy and Implementation Program

This program will allow law enforcement agencies to pilot, establish or enhance body-worn camera (BWC) programs. Up to $22.5 million may be available to state, local and tribal law enforcement across the country. While body-worn camera equipment may be purchased under this program, agencies must commit to developing and adhering to strong BWC policies and requisite training if awarded a grant.

Collaborative Model to Improve LE Investigations of Human Trafficking

Grants will support the development of effective and sustainable multidisciplinary task forces to identify victims of sex and labor trafficking. Law enforcement and victim services agencies will work with their community partners to implement victim-centered approaches including services to victim, investigation and prosecution of cases at all levels. Up to $15 million may be available for local, state, tribal and federal task forces with each award averaging $900,000.

Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Site-Based Program

To assist in combatting the opioid abuse epidemic across our nation, BJA will provide grants to states, units of local government and tribal governments to develop and implement strategies that identify, respond, treat and support those impacted by this crisis. The federal dollars can be used to enhance data collection and information sharing, expand treatment and develop specialized opioid courts, among other uses of the funds. Up to $195 million may be available under this program.

Innovations in Community-Based Crime Reduction

The focus of this program is assisting high crime, distressed communities by integrating officers and innovative enforcement strategies into an overall community-based crime reduction strategy. Crime hot spots are targeted with a community-based approach using officers, neighbors, the business community and social services and other nonprofit agencies. These partnerships engage the services of a researcher to assist in the development and evaluation of data-driven strategies. Up to $10 million may be available to support up to 10 awards.

Innovative Prosecution Solutions for Combating Violent Crime

This program provides state, local and tribal prosecutors with information, resources, training and technical assistance to develop strategies addressing violent crime within their jurisdiction. Working with a research partner, the prosecutors will take the lead in bringing together the police, the community and local agencies to develop and evaluate strategies to reduce violent crime in their area. Up to $2.2 million may be available with grant awards averaging $360,000.

Intellectual Property Enforcement Program

The Intellectual Property (IP) Enhancement Program supports the establishment or enhancement of IP task forces. Grants will support the criminal justice system’s ability to address IP enforcement. Funding can be used for prosecution, prevention, training, and technical assistance efforts. These task forces must align with the Department of Justice’s IP Task Force mission and include their relevant state, local, tribal and federal agencies, including the local US Attorney’s Offices. Up to $2.5 million may be available to support up to 6 awards.

Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program

The Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program, established in 2004, supports cross-system collaboration to assist states, local government and tribal organizations improve responses to people with mental disorders or co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse who are involved also with the criminal justice system. The grants fund innovative programs, training, policy development, evaluation, data and technology programs that increase the collaboration between criminal justice (police, corrections, supervision etc.) and behavior health partners. Up to $23 million is expected to be available to fund awards averaging $350,000.

The Local Law Enforcement Crime Gun Intelligence Center Integration Initiative

The purpose of this initiative is to encourage local jurisdictions to work with their Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) partners to utilize intelligence, technology and community engagement to swiftly identify firearms used unlawfully and their sources, and effectively prosecute perpetrators engaged in violent crime. Target jurisdictions must be experiencing a precipitous increase in gun crime and agree to work with their local ATF Crime Gun Intelligence Centers on developing holistic programs to identify illegal firearms and reduce crime in their area. Up to $5 million may be available to support up to 5 awards.

National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative

The goal of this grant program is to address the growing number of unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits (SAKs) in law enforcement custody, and to provide resolution for victims when possible. The grants will assist jurisdictions to build their capacity to inventory, tests and track SAKs and improve investigation, prosecution, and victim engagement practices. Up to $40 million may be awarded to fund up to 28 awards.

Project Safe Neighborhood Program

Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is designed to create safer neighborhoods through a sustained reduction in gang violence and gun crime. Local projects and task forces are led by the US Attorney’s Offices throughout the country in coordination and partnerships with local, state, tribal and federal law enforcement agencies. This program offers funding, resources and training for law enforcement, prosecutors and their PSN teams to combat violent crime through enforcement, community engagement, prevention and reentry efforts. Up to $35 million may be available for PSN grants this year.

Student, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) Prevention Training and Response to Mental Health Crisis Program

Authorized under the STOP School Violence Act of 2018, this grant program will provide funding to states, units of government and Indian tribes to address, prevent and reduce school violence. Not only can the funding be used to train school personnel and educate students to prevent school violence, but it can also be used for response efforts such as developing anonymous reporting systems (mobile apps, hotlines and websites), creating and operating school threat assessment and crisis intervention teams, and providing training for school officials in responding to mental health crises. Up to $70 million may be available to support up to 70 awards across the country.

Strategies for Policing Innovation (SPI) Program

Strategies for Policing Innovation (formally the Smart Policing Initiative) Program provides grants enabling law enforcement agencies to identify and define their most pressing crime problem and develop strategies to institute lasting operational and organizational changes. Partnering with researchers is a requirement under this program with the goal to test promising crime prevention, response and reduction practices. The implementation and testing of justice information technology are among the many areas this grant program will support. This year, $7 million may be available to support grants averaging $650,000.

Final thoughts

Remember that the FY 2019 Department of Justice Budget has not yet been passed so the dollar amounts available under these programs may change.

All of the grants are competitive – the more innovative and collaborative your strategy, the better your chances of receiving an award.

Start preparing now for those grants you would like to pursue. Most grant application periods average only four weeks once the solicitation is announced. Continue to monitor the OJP grant opportunities website so you’re aware as soon as the opportunity is posted.

The team at PoliceGrantsHelp is ready to help. Our grant assistance program includes a number of options including grant writing and grant application review.

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