Author: Therese Matthews
When we think about grants for law enforcement, corrections or other public safety agencies, the Justice Assistance Grants (JAG), COPS Office grants and Homeland Security grants are usually the first to come to mind. While these three grant sources provide the largest amount of funding for law enforcement and other public safety agencies, some “outside the box” thinking and strategic planning may land you a grant from some not so familiar sources.
Here’s some unique grant funding sources to consider for your law enforcement equipment, training and other resource needs.
1. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
For years, the USDA has been offering grants and loans to support public safety services including police stations, prisons, police vehicles, or equipment. The USDA’s Rural Development Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program is available to communities across the country. If you are located in a rural area, and qualify because of your population size and poverty level, consider applying for funding under this program.
This program has helped support the cost of new police vehicles, mobile command posts, and other law enforcement and corrections equipment, along with public safety facility upgrades. This same federal agency also recently awarded the Virginia Department of Corrections technical assistance funding to develop and implement a composting program at several of their correctional facilities.
2. U.S. Department of Commerce
Looking for funding to support 911 call center upgrades? Consider the Department of Commerce’s Next Generation 911 Grant Program. Funding has been allocated to states, eligible territories and tribal organizations for the implementation and operation of 911 services, E911 services, migration to an IP-enabled emergency network, and adoption and operation of Next Generation 911 services and applications. Reach out to your State Single Points of Contact to inquire about the process for accessing a portion of the grant dollars they received from the Department of Commerce.
3. U.S. Department of Energy
If your agency is looking to replace its aging vehicle or motorcycle fleet with alternative fuel or electric equipment, the U.S. Department of Energy has several funding options to consider under its Clean Cities Coalition Network. Coalitions operate within each major metropolitan region across the country. Reach out to the Clean Cities Coordinator nearest your area to discuss your project needs and inquire about funding.
4. Department of Health and Human Services
The Department of Health and Human Services offers several grants for communities fighting the opioid crisis. These include, among others, the Rural Communities Opioid Response Initiative and SAMHSA Tribal Opioid Response Grant. Grants may support the cost of Narcan kits, training or interagency planning required to combat this public health epidemic within your community.
Does your agency provide security for large events, fairs or concerts in your community? Consider reaching out to your state’s travel and tourism office to inquire if they have grant funding to support the cost of the equipment and vehicles you need to keep these events safe.
Funding to support your agency training needs in some areas may be available through your state’s education department or department of labor/workforce development. Not only does each state receive dollars for adult education, they also receive Federal pass-through funding to increase workforce skills. Research your state agency websites and reach out them to discuss your training needs.
Corporate and foundation funding
Often, law enforcement and corrections agencies don’t consider pursuing the millions of grant dollars available through corporations or private foundations, thinking that as a government agency they would not qualify for this funding. However, many corporate-giving programs, utility companies and insurance companies allow government agencies to apply for their grant funding. Consider some of these:
National freight railroad companies such as CSX, Union Pacific and BNSF administer grants with a focus on keeping the communities safe where their lines are operating. Grocery store chains including Kroger, Aldi and Safeway have awarded grants to police, fire and other first responders across the country. Large corporations such as Lockheed Martin and Georgia Pacific have been huge grant supporters of public safety and emergency response agencies. Insurance companies and health care organizations including MetLife, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Passport Health are among the many companies that have provided grants supporting officer safety equipment. Many utility and pipeline companies offer grants focusing on keeping the neighborhoods safe where they supply the services or where their lines are running. Some to consider include Dominion Energy, Columbia Gas and Enbridge (pipeline) company.
I hope I’ve provided some useful suggestions of “outside the box” grant funders for law enforcement, corrections and other public safety agencies. Use your own creative thinking to pursue grant funding to help support the cost of the equipment, supplies, training or other resources you need to keep our communities safe.
The team at PoliceGrantsHelp is always available to assist. We can research grant opportunities specific to your location or mission, and can also assist through our grant writing and grant application review services.