The COPS FAST program was designed to provide funding directly to local, state, and tribal jurisdictions for the salaries and benefits of newly hired officers engaged in community policing. As one of the COPS Office's first hiring programs, FAST funding was awarded to help law enforcement agencies form partnerships with their communities to develop innovative ways to address longstanding problems. FAST served jurisdictions with populations of less than 50,000. Larger jurisdictions were funded under the COPS AHEAD grant program.
COPS FAST provided federal funding for 75 percent of a newly hired entry-level officer's salary and benefits, up to a maximum of $75,000 per officer, over the three -year grant period. Either newly hired officers were deployed into community policing activities or a comparable number of veteran officers were redeployed into community policing in their place. Each department was required to contribute at least 25 percent in local matching funds.
There was one announcement in March 1995 for the FAST grant program, after which approximately $400 million was awarded to over 6,700 law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring of nearly 6,100 officers. FAST and AHEAD were subsequently merged into the COPS Universal Hiring Program (UHP).