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Frequently Asked Questions About Managing COPS Grants

Question I would like to apply for a COPS grant. How can I obtain an application?

Answer You may obtain an application for available COPS grants online or by contacting the COPS Office Response Center at 800.421.6770. 

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Question I applied for a COPS grant and I want to check on the status of my application. How long does it take for an application to get processed and funded?

Answer The application review and processing time varies depending upon the specific grant program. Once an application is received, it goes through several stages of programmatic and budget review. The average processing time for an application is two to four months, but missing or incorrectly completed items can significantly increase an application's processing time.

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Question My department was notified that it was awarded a COPS grant. When should I expect to receive the actual award?

Answer It usually takes six to eight weeks following the announcement of an award before the actual award package is generated and mailed. Often awards are announced at an estimated level of funding. Final budget approval must be obtained before the actual award amount is available.

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Question Once I receive my award package from the COPS Office, when can I begin drawing down funds?

Answer The award document must first be signed by the law enforcement or government executive and returned to the COPS Office. You should then allow approximately two to three weeks for the COPS Office and the Office of the Comptroller to process the signed award and mail the necessary information and password to access the paperless drawdown system.

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Question My agency needs to withdraw from its COPS grant because the city/town is unable to pay the local match. What should I do?

Answer An agency that receives a COPS award and is unable to accept it or needs to withdraw from it should submit the following information on official department letterhead: Agency ORI #, name of grant program, grant # and/or award supplement, the official award date, the amount of money awarded, the number of position(s) granted, an explanation as to why the department cannot accept the award (original or supplement), and whether or not funds have been drawn down under the grant. The letter must be signed by the law enforcement and government executives and it should be sent to that agency's COPS Office Grant Program Specialist. The agency should also include a copy of its final quarterly Federal Financial Report (SF-425), even if it has not drawn down funding.

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Question There has been an increase in salary and/or other costs since we received our COPS grant. Can we update our budget figures in order to obtain additional money?

Answer Unfortunately, the award amount cannot be increased once an award has been announced.

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Question Our department has a new Chief and contact person for the COPS grants. I need to provide COPS with updated information. What is the best way to do this?

Answer Download and complete a Change of Information form and mail it to the agency's Grant Program Specialist, or complete the form on-line. You only need to complete one form with the updated information and indicate any COPS grants your department currently has.

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Question How can I get an extension of my COPS grant?

Answer For most COPS grant programs, the COPS Office will mail an Extension Request Worksheet to your department during the last quarter of your grant period. Grant extension requests may also be submitted in writing on department letterhead, although requests should not be submitted until the final quarter of the grant period (three months before the grant's scheduled end date). The letter should include the grant program, grant number, and the requested revised end date and/or the amount of additional time requested. The request must also be signed by the law enforcement or government executive. A justification of the extension request should be included if you are requesting an extension period of 18 months or longer, and must be approved in writing by the COPS Office. Please note: extensions provide additional time to complete a grant, but do not provide additional funding. More information on extensions.

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Question What are the roles of my state-assigned Grant Program Specialist and Staff Accountant?

Answer Your Grant Program Specialist can assist you during all phases of the grant application process as well as with the implementation of your grant. All programmatic questions and issues surrounding your grant should also be directed to your Grant Program Specialist. 

The Staff Accountant assigned to your state will help you obtain and complete the required quarterly Federal Financial Report (SF-425). Your Staff Accountant can also determine if you are delinquent on a financial report, signed award, or other item which would prevent you from accessing funds in the Phone Activated Paperless Response System (PAPRS). Staff Accountants can also answer other questions related to PAPRS, help obtain a password and user manual to access this system, and help with any specific "drawdown," accounting, or other financial questions related to your grant.

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Question What is meant by "retention," and how long do I have to retain after my COPS grant ends?

Answer The COPS Office has a special interest in ensuring all positions funded as a result of our grants will be retained after the end of the grant period. Grantees are required to develop a retention plan for personnel hired and/or redeployed as a result of a COPS hiring or MORE grant. Establishing a retention plan is very important since grantees will be tracked for one locally set budget cycle following the expiration of a grant. More information on retention.

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Question Can the COPS Office assist me with questions regarding my block grant (e.g., grant #95LLBG0000)?

Answer The COPS Office does not administer block grants. These grants are funded by the DOJ's Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). You may contact the BJA at 202.616.6500 or visit its website

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Question How do I find out if my city received a COPS grant?

Answer To obtain information on grants awarded in each state, visit our electronic reading room in our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) section.

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Question I understand the "Doe" Police Department has initiated a special program and I am interested in adopting some of its ideas. How can I obtain a copy of its grant proposal?

Answer The COPS Office will release certain information regarding grant applications submitted through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process. You can submit a FOIA request by writing to the following address: Attention FOIA Officer, U.S. Department of Justice, COPS Office, 1100 Vermont Avenue, NW, Washington D.C. 20530. 

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Question My agency currently has a Universal Hiring Program (UHP) grant and would like to receive funding for additional officers. What should we do?

Answer All UHP applicants, regardless of the number of prior UHP awards received, are now required to submit a new UHP application each time they request additional UHP officer funding. UHP applications for additional officer positions should only be submitted to COPS during an open solicitation for applications. During a UHP open solicitation, application kits may be downloaded from the Applications for Current Programs page of this website, or ordered from the COPS Office Response Center at 800.421.6770.

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Question My agency received an award for four (4) positions under UHP, but is only able to accept two (2) positions. What should we do?

Answer Your department must submit a letter on official letterhead requesting to modify your grant. Please include the grant program, grant number, position(s) awarded, requested change, and an explanation for the change. Please note that you can only modify your award if the awarded amount remains the same or decreases. Your award cannot be modified if it results in an increase of the federal share amount. More information on modifying your grant

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Question What is the difference between an extension and a renewal of my COPS MORE grant?

Answer A grant "renewal" provides additional funding for civilians awarded under MORE grants. The amount is usually equivalent to the original award amount. When funding is available, agencies may receive up to two years of additional funding, for a total of three years. A grant "extension" provides additional time, but no additional money, on the original one-year grant. Grantees should request an extension if, for example, equipment or technology awarded has not been purchased by the end of the one-year MORE grant period, and additional time is needed to draw down funds.

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Question Since I saved money in some categories of my COPS grant equipment budget, can I purchase additional items?

Answer All requests to make changes under your COPS equipment grant should be submitted in writing on official department letterhead. The COPS Office will review your request to determine if the proposed change is consistent with the original application submitted.

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Question I understand that I am required to redeploy officers to community policing as a result of my COPS MORE grant. What is meant by "redeployment"?

Answer The time saved through COPS MORE funded equipment, technology, civilians, and overtime (for MORE 95 grants) must result in an increase in community policing. Additional information regarding the MORE redeployment and tracking requirement.

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Question I have to submit my quarterly Federal Financial Report (SF-425) but I have not received one from your office. Can you help me?

Answer  All COPS Grantees are required to submit quarterly Federal Financial Reports using a Standard Form 425 (SF-425). This report reflects the cumulative actual federal monies and unliquidated obligations incurred, local matching contributions, and the unobligated balance of federal funds.

SF-425s for COPS Grants must be submitted every quarter and no later than 30 days after the last day of each reporting quarter, as detailed below:

Reporting Quarter Date Due
January 1 March 31 April 30
April 1 - June 30 July 30
July 1 September 30 October 30
October 1 December 31 January 30

Grantees are highly encouraged to submit the quarterly SF-425 online. Visit the COPS website at and select the “Account Access” link in the upper right corner to login, complete, and submit reports online.

In emergency situations the grantee can submit a signed copy of the completed SF-425 via fax to 202.616.4428 or mailed to the following address:

U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services
Federal Financial Reports (SF-425) Records Center 10E.1004
145 N Street, NE
Washington, DC 20530

For detailed assistance with completing your Federal Financial Report (SF-425), please review Helpful Hints Guide for Completing the Federal Financial Report (SF-425).

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Question I am having trouble with PAPRS and I am unable to draw down funds. What should I do?

Answer There could be a number of reasons for this. If you are having trouble, please first write down all error messages you are receiving from PAPRS. If the system indicates you have not returned a signed acceptance of your grant, you should contact your Grant Program Specialist to verify receipt of a signed award. All other inquiries and/or error messages should be directed to the Staff Accountant assigned to your state, the PAPRS Manual, or contact the COPS Office Response Center at 800.421.6770.

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