So, your department wants to apply for a grant.
Your decision makes sense. Budgets are tight and grants allow agencies to expand their capabilities beyond what their operational budgets would normally allow. The downside, however, is that grant applications can be time consuming, require research and manpower to be completed effectively, and tend to be competitive.
While writing grant proposals might be intimidating, the process can be done successfully by following a few basic guidelines. L-Tron has worked with and for Law Enforcement agencies over the past two decades. We have helped agencies successfully find, apply for, and receive law enforcement grant funding to purchase our technology, including the 4910LR Driver’s License Reader and OSCR360 system.
L-Tron equipment tends to be eligible for grant funding simply due to the nature of the technology we provide. Federal grants, for instance, are often focused on community policing and public safety efforts, and L-Tron’s equipment was developed to assist Law Enforcement officers in better serving and protecting their communities, as well as improving their safety and efficiency.
Here are 7 tips to help your agency write a winning Law Enforcement grant application.
The more time you leave your agency to fully understand and complete the application process, the better. Adequate time will allow you to carefully consider your approach and wording, while also leaving you with plenty of time to find help if you need it.
Know the facts.
Sometimes agencies enter into the grant process assuming the grant will automatically cover their entire purchase, but this isn’t always the case. Find out exactly that the grant will – and won’t – cover prior to applying. Furthermore, double check to be sure that your agency is fully qualified to be eligible for the grant, to avoid wasting time and resources.
Have a plan.
As we mentioned, grant funding is competitive. Take some time to carefully reflect on the “why” behind your application and then be prepared to clearly and persuasively convey your plan in writing, using data to support your claims whenever possible.
Federal grants require you to register in the SAM (System for Award Management) database, while state and local grants may have other requirements. We provide some additional information on the SAM process later in this blog.
Your application responses should not only be original, but also must be direct and to the point, answering each question as succinctly as possible. For every question you answer, be sure the most important information is addressed first in your response.
Involve other agencies that may be good partners in the project you’re seeking to pursue, such as other first responders or government agencies. Also, collaborate with outside sources, like L-Tron, who have expertise in the technology you wish to acquire and can help you with the wording needed within your proposal.
Review and submit.
After spending hours on the application process, it can be tempting to quickly hit the submit button upon completion. Instead, carefully proof-read your work and ask others to review the application from an outsider’s standpoint. But, don’t lose track of the deadline. A late application will be discarded and your hard work may have been wasted.
How to apply for a Federal Law Enforcement Grant
Just this past year, we collaborated with several agencies to complete grant applications for the School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP) grant. Though the list below does apply strictly to federal grants, give us a call to discuss the process of state or local grant funding.
To apply for a federal grant, your agency will need to:
- Create or renew a “SAM” ID, which can be obtained at https://sam.gov/SAM/. (Requires annual renewal within the system)
- Register with Grants.gov by completing the form SF 424 (and possibly the SF-LLL Disclosure form, if applicable.)
- Locate the grant(s) you are eligible to apply for on https://cops.usdog.gov/grants. Take note of exactly how much of your purchase the grant will cover.
- Pay attention to the deadlines! Grants.gov and JustGrants have different dates. Late submissions will not be considered.
- Identify the funding opportunity number for each grant you wish to apply for. Note: Select carefully, as some of the grants may have similar names.
- Submit a set of forms for each grant in which you are interested in applying for.
- Check your email for next steps and further assistance from JustGrants.
- Print and thoroughly review the Solicitation Guide for assistance in completing the application in the JustGrants system.
- SAM-E-Biz Point of Contact assigns key roles in the JustGrants system prior to completing the application.
- Roles include the Application Submitter and two Authorized Representatives.
- Multiple people may work on the application simultaneously.
- Complete sections of the application in any order – except for the “Data Submitted under the Application” section.
- Submit the application. If you are unable to submit, follow the instructions to correct your errors and then try again.
Note: Changes cannot be made to an application once it has been submitted.
“Thank you Julianne! Unless there are surprise pages ahead, I think I have everything filled out correctly. Thank you again for your help on the narratives.”– NY Law Enforcement Agency
What if you get stuck?
Don’t panic! There is a lot of assistance available throughout the grant application process, including solicitation guides, FAQ pages, Help Desk hotlines, and, of course, your Support Team at L-Tron.
While we can’t write the entire grant for you, we can help you clarify your grant needs, provide product-specific wording, examples of use cases, and finalize portions of the grant. We can assist in making sure your application conveys all of the ways in which your new technology will benefit your agency’s ability to serve your community. We can help you justify the purpose of the grant funding and help you to explain the impact the funding will ultimately have.
Contact our team today to learn more about how we can work with you to write a winning law enforcement grant application.
We are happy to share funding opportunities with our clients. Contact us or check out a few of our resources below: