Funding your police department isn’t always easy. Some years, your budget may not be enough for you to make necessary investments to better your department. A large portion of the average police department budget goes toward personnel expenses, such as salaries, overtime and fringe benefits. This makes it difficult to find funding for other ideas, programs and needs that typically go unfunded. These additional needs can include hiring and training new police officers, as well as investing in the necessary technology to run police departments more smoothly.
When it comes down to increasing your police department’s budget, you have two options: grants and fundraising. This blog post will explore some of the options police departments across the nation have for obtaining funding, including grants and fundraising.
Fundraising efforts for police departments
You should consider engaging in fundraising efforts if your police department is spending more than what you have in your current budget. Hosting a fundraising event in your community is not only a good way to raise money, but it’s also a great way to connect with the community you serve. Community fundraising efforts can include organizing car washes, golf tournaments, or t-shirt fundraisers. A representative from your department can also reach out to local businesses and organizations to secure sponsorship for these fundraising events. Local businesses and organizations can include your local sports team, restaurants in the community, retail businesses and more.
A popular police fundraiser in smaller cities and communities is a “Tip-a-Cop”. With this police fundraiser, your officers volunteer at a local restaurant for the night as servers. Your police department would then keep the tips made from that night and put the money toward your annual budget. Though the extra money raised may not be enough to invest in new tactical gear or technologies, hosting a “Tip-a-Cop” fundraiser on a bi-annual basis may give your department extra cashflow for smaller needs, such as necessary uniform upgrades or programs that support local officers injured in the line of duty.
Other fundraising ideas can include:
- Local fundraisers including: Police officer talent show, Police vs. Firefighters sports events, or a Doughnut eating contest
- Sell a charity calendar
- Gala events
- Community policing programs
- Community donations
Police departments can also consider raising money through community donations. A simple way to raise money through community donations is by setting up an online fundraising campaign that makes it easy for people to donate to your police department with just a few clicks.
While fundraisers may require both time and effort to organize, they’re a great way to raise money for your police department while also engaging and making connections in your local community while improving trust.
Grants available for police departments
There are many organizations across the nation, both public and private, that offer grants for law enforcement agencies. Obtaining grants may allow your police department to invest in new technology and training programs to better your day-to-day operations.
One example of a grant program for law enforcement agencies is the Community Orienting Police Services (COPS), which is administered by the U.S. Department of Justice. COPS has invested over $14 billion in policing since they were established almost thirty years ago. COPS provides funding for initiatives, such as training, implementing technology solutions, and supporting community policing programs. Another example is the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program, which has funded over 24,000 direct awards totaling over 7.6 billion since 2002.
Another government resource police departments can use to find available grants is grants.gov. This government website allows you to use categories, states, types of grants and eligibility to search for available grants for your police department.
Outside of government resources, police departments can use PoliceGrantsHelp.com to look for available grants. This website allows police departments to search for available grants using keywords, category, state, or type of grant. If it’s your first time looking for available grants, read this helpful article on Police Grants 101.
In addition to the above resources, local governments also provide funding for law enforcement agencies. Government funding is usually available through dedicated programs or their overall budgets.
The bottom line
There are many opportunities available for police departments to obtain funding. By taking advantage of available grants and fundraisers, police departments can secure the resources needed to invest in their departments and protect their communities.
Investing in new technology is one of the best ways to better your police department. Reach out to our team today to learn more about how InTime’s scheduling solution can improve your police department’s day-to-day operations.