Justice Assistance Grants (JAG): Federal application period for local and state funds just announced

Act fast to participate in your area’s strategic planning process for these funds

The Federal application period for the annual state and local Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants (JAG) has just opened with an application deadline of August 22, 2018. 

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) will make up to 1,147 awards to local jurisdictions totaling an estimated $84.5 million.

An additional 56 awards will be made to states and U.S. territories totaling nearly $176.8 million.

BJA sees a vital need to focus not only on tactical officer safety concerns, but also on health and wellness and their impact on officer performance and safety.
BJA sees a vital need to focus not only on tactical officer safety concerns, but also on health and wellness and their impact on officer performance and safety. (Photo/Pixabay)

What you need to know about this funding source and who is eligible to apply

The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant funds (JAG) is the leading source of federal funding for state and local criminal justice purposes. Noncompetitive grants are allocated as block funding to all state and only certain local jurisdictions based on Part 1 crime data and population statistics. 

States are required to pass through a percentage of their funding allocation to local jurisdictions and criminal justice partners – most often through the competitive application process conducted by the State Administering Agency (SAA).

Fiscal Year (FY) 18 JAG funds awarded to state and local governments can be used to cover a host of criminal justice needs including providing additional personnel, equipment, supplies, contractual support, training, technical assistance and information systems.  The funds can support one or more of the following areas: 

  • Law enforcement programs;
  • Prosecution and court programs;
  • Prevention and education programs;
  • Corrections and community corrections programs;
  • Drug treatment and enforcement programs;
  • Planning, evaluation, and technology improvement programs;
  • Crime victim and witness programs (other than compensation);
  • Mental health programs and related law enforcement and corrections programs, including behavioral programs and crisis intervention teams;
  • And for any purpose indicated in Appendix F of the grant solicitation.

BJA’s Areas of Emphasis for FY 18

BJA is encouraging state and local applicants to focus their grant applications on addressing four areas this Federal agency will be targeting much of their resources to this year.  These areas include: 

  1. Reducing Violent Crime – Recognizing that crime problems, including felonious possession and use of a firearm and/or gang violence, illegal drug sales and distribution, human trafficking and other related violent crime, vary from community to community, BJA encourages applicants to tailor their programs to the local crime issues, and to be data-informed in their work.
  2. Officer Safety and Wellness – BJA sees a vital need to focus not only on tactical officer safety concerns, but also on health and wellness and their impact on officer performance and safety. It is important for law enforcement to have the tactical skills necessary, and also be physically and mentally well, to perform, survive and be resilient in the face of the demanding duties of the profession.
  3. Border Security – BJA encourages units of local government to enhance border, waterway and port security by using JAG funds to support law enforcement hiring, training and technology enhancement, as well as cooperation and coordination among federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies.
  4. Collaborative Prosecution and Law Enforcement – BJA supports strong partnerships between prosecutors and law enforcement, at all levels of government, in order to help take violent offenders off the street.

Follow the grant solicitation guidelines and understand all of the grant requirements

Whether you are the SAA, a local jurisdiction direct recipient or may be a sub-recipient of funds passed down through the SAA, it is important that you thoroughly review the state  and local  guidelines. Not only do the guidelines detail how to structure your grant application project narrative and budget, but they also outline all of the federal requirements imposed by statute that your jurisdiction must comply in order to accept these funds. 

Recently enacted federal requirements include:

  1. National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) 3 percent set aside:  With the sunsetting of the Uniform Crime Reporting system and replacement with NIBRS by 2021, agencies not yet certified by the state as NIBRS compliant must dedicate 3 percent of their JAG award toward achieving full compliance.
  2. Certifications and Assurances by the Chief Executive of the Applicant Government – including requirements on supplanting, public review and comment, and immigration policies and practices, among others.
  3. Certifications by the Chief Legal Officer of the Applicant Government – Regarding Compliance with U.S.C. Sections 1373 & 1640 prohibiting policies or practices that impede the sharing of information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) about an individual’s immigration status.
  4. Information Regarding Communication with the Department of Homeland Security and/or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Final Tips

  • Review the JAG Frequently Asked Questions document – a great resource tool for understanding the JAG Program, allowable and unallowable uses of these grant dollars and grant requirements.
  • If you don’t qualify for a direct allocation of JAG funds, reach out to your SAA now to discuss your agency resource needs and inquire how you can be part of your state’s strategic planning for these dollars.
  • Follow the grant guidelines closely and include all required certifications and attachments.
  • Submit your application by the August 22 deadline if you are one of the State or eligible local government agencies.  

For more grant-writing assistance, visit PoliceGrantsHelp.   

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