Resources

How to Navigate the Federal Grant Landscape

By
Rachel Kainer
on
August 19, 2021

Local police departments receive funding from a variety of sources, including government funds, fines and fees, private donations, and federal grants. Grants cover a variety of applications from providing training to conducting research and implementing programs. The goal of these grants is to support law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. 

For law enforcement officers, the process of applying for grants can be incredibly stressful. Similar to a student applying for a scholarship or grant, there is an abundance of places to look and the process can be daunting. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the largest federal grant programs as well as resource centers and databases.


Department of Justice (DOJ) & Grants.gov

Many of the most popular grant programs are run through the DOJ. Each office has their own focus and purpose, and the grants available through the DOJ and each individual office are maintained through Grants.gov, a comprehensive government database for federal grants. Applicants for federal grants create and track their grants on the Grants.gov database, which can be filtered to find grants and other programs that meet specific needs. For example, when looking for a Department of Justice affiliated grant, users should select the “USDOJ” filter.

Explore below some of the different offices that function within the DOJ and the types of grants that each of them administer as well as resources they provide.


Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office

The COPS Office is responsible for “advancing the practice of community policing.” They focus on building trust and respect between the community and police. The objectives of their grants are to “​​hire community policing professionals, develop and test innovative policing strategies, and provide training and technical assistance to community members, local government leaders, and all levels of law enforcement.” On their website, they detail steps that departments can follow to apply for COPS funding.


Office of Justice Programs (OJP)

The OJP has a variety of tools that are useful in the search for grants. For example, the “Current Funding Opportunities” page provides links to open solicitations and challenges within its various offices, such as the National Institute of Justice and the Office for Victims of Crime. Note that this page is updated with opportunities cyclically. 

The “Grant Application Resource Guide” provides an even more in-depth step-by-step guide to applying for grants. Additionally, this guide has specific worksheets and guidance documents to help with the composition of the grant application itself.


Office on Violence Against Women (OVW)

Like the other offices, the OVW provides a similar step-by-step guide to applying for grants through Grants.gov. On its “Resources for Applicants” page, OVW has a bounty of useful resources, including samples of different parts of a typical grant application, grant writing tips, and solicitation webinars. Also, on their website, users can sign up to receive alerts when new solicitations are available. This is helpful due to the cyclical nature of federal grant opportunities, as noted above.


Justice Grants System (JustGrants)

JustGrants is an “end-to-end grants management system” adopted by the DOJ in 2020. The JustGrants system is beneficial to both applicants and grant recipients in managing their organization’s information, tracking the application and/or disbursal process, and data management. This is a valuable tool once the initial application has been filed or the user has been awarded a grant. 

Many of the above sites share overlapping instructions and sources, as they are a part of the Department of Justice and Grants.gov. However, each office and respective site offer different valuable tools in the search and application process for federal grants. 


What all of these offices share in common is the following recommendations when applying for a grant:

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Rachel Kainer

Rachel graduated from Southern Methodist University with a degree in advertising and has always had a passion for writing, spending four years on her high school’s newspaper staff and freelance writing during college. Despite being born and raised in Houston, Rachel has become a Dallas transplant, living there for the past two years with her husband and their pup Moby.

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