The COPS AHEAD 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, AHEAD funding was awarded to help law enforcement agencies form partnerships with their communities to develop innovative ways to address longstanding problems. The AHEAD program served jurisdictions with populations greater than 50,000. Smaller jurisdictions were funded under the COPS FAST grant program.
COPS AHEAD provided federal funding for 75 percent of a newly hired entry-level officer's salary and benefits, up to $75,000 per officer, over the 3-year grant period. Either the 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.
The AHEAD grant program, which was announced in April 1995, awarded approximately $284 million to almost 500 law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring of nearly 4,000 officers. AHEAD and FAST were merged into the COPS Universal Hiring Program (UHP).