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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services
One of the biggest challenges in administering a law enforcement agency is managing the budget, finding new ways to meet a growing number of public and officer safety needs with limited resources.
But there are a wide variety of entities, both private and public, that offer grant funding to local, state, and tribal law enforcement for training, vehicles, equipment, hiring, and programs of many kinds.
The list below is a small sampling of available sources, and it should be noted these can change from year to year. But also keep in mind that there are many others out there and that it pays to think creatively, casting a wide net. You never know where an opportunity may come from.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) offers funding for training, technical assistance, research, assisting victims of crime, and programs that improve the criminal, civil, and juvenile justice systems primarily through three grant-making components:
Application information can be found at cops.usdoj.gov/grants.
For more information on these and other DOJ grants, see The DOJ Program Plan, a tool to help applicants and grantees find funding opportunities managed by the DOJ grant-making components.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers grants and low-interest loans to support public safety services such as police stations, vehicles, and prisons in communities with populations of 20,000 or less through their Rural Development Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) offers grants for communities fighting the opioid crisis. These include the Health Resources and Services Administrations (HRSA) Rural Communities Opioid Response Program and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Tribal Opioid Response Grant.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) funds training and programs, including fusion centers, for response to domestic or international terrorism. Most of these federal grants are received through your state’s homeland security or emergency management agency.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) provides free drug interdiction training courses directly to law enforcement through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Drug Interdiction Assistance Program (DIAP).
Many states provide grant funding for law enforcement activities. State criminal justice agencies are the most common funders, but offices that focus on health, housing, education, and urban and rural development may also offer funding to local law enforcement.
State government sites like the Texas Funding Schedule Calendar, the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Grants page, and the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control site provide application closing dates and other information for state funded grants. Check your state’s web site for similar programs.
The National Association of State Agencies for Surplus Property provides a directory of every state’s agency for acquiring surplus vehicles and other supplies free of charge.
Travel and tourism offices in some states also provide funding for the equipment and vehicles needed to provide security for large events, fairs, or concerts. Money may also be available through state education departments or departments of labor/workforce development, which receive federal pass-through funding to increase workforce skills.
Each state and U.S. territory also receives an annual Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, which is available to local and state agencies. Reach out to your State Administering Agency (SAA) representative for more information.
Many corporations and utilities have grant programs to fund security operations, safety equipment, and other law enforcement needs.
Chain stores such as Target, Kroger, Aldi, and Safeway have awarded grants to police, as have corporations such as Lockheed Martin and insurance companies such as Metlife. Freight railroad companies such as CSX and Union Pacific also award grants to keep their areas of operation safe, as do Dominion Energy, Columbia Gas, and other utilities
Various foundations and associations also provide funds through grants programs. The American Police and Sheriff's Association Equipment Grants provide safety equipment, communication devices, and duty gear. The Spirit of Blue Foundation Safety Grants help raise funds for equipment, training and other resources, which agencies purchase through participating sponsors.
The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation, founded by the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, offers grants to help police K-9 units purchase dogs and dog safety vests and provide for other K-9 needs.
The National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA) awards funds for vehicles and equipment to SWAT teams that are members of the association. The non-profit St. Michael’s Shield Project provides free body armor through Vest for Life. Other sources can be found on the Foundation Center.
Grant applications are open for a limited time each year and take a significant amount of time to prepare, so it’s critical to get started as soon as possible. To obtain funding, agencies must submit applications or proposals that meet the qualifications requested by the grantor. To do so requires a significant amount of research, planning, and writing. For information, ideas and guidance, see How to Write a Successful Grant Funding Proposal.
Sr. Technical Writer
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