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Grant funding options for speed prevention enforcement programs

With vehicle speed a factor in a third of all traffic fatalities from 2005-2014, police departments should implement high-visibility enforcement campaigns to promote traffic safety

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A Maine Department of Transportation sign uses holiday humor to warn drivers to watch their speed on Interstate 295, Thursday, Dec. 19, 2016, in Portland, Maine.

AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

Developing and implementing a high-visibility speed enforcement campaign in your community can have a dramatic effect on reducing crashes and saving lives. These campaigns can also substantially increase officer and pedestrian safety. Finding the funding to cover communicating the campaign message, as well as personnel and equipment costs, can be challenging for law enforcement agencies with limited budgets.

Here are several grant options your agency should consider that could cover all or part of your speed enforcement campaign.

Federal Funding Sources

Highway Traffic Safety Grants

These federal dollars are passed down to States through the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The Section 402 State and Community Highway Safety Grant Program has numerous focus areas, including improving enforcement of traffic safety laws, reducing accidents and enhancing emergency services. States typically offer grants to local law enforcement agencies through a competitive application process. Contact your State Transportation Department to inquire about how to apply for these funds.

Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) Grants

The MCSAP is a federal grant program that provides funding to states to reduce the number and severity of crashes and hazardous materials incidents involving commercial motor vehicles. The goal of the program is to reduce commercial motor vehicle involved crashes, fatalities and injuries through consistent, uniform and effective safety programs. Funding has supported several thousand law enforcement officers and equipment necessary to increase enforcement and safety across the U.S. Contact your State Transportation Department representatives to find out if funding is available to support your campaign needs.

Justice Assistance Grants (JAG)

Justice Assistance Grants (JAG) are one of the largest sources of grant funding supporting law enforcement equipment. These funds can support numerous law enforcement efforts to reduce crimes, protect the public, increase officer safety and communicate effective strategies. Many local municipalities across the country receive a local allocation directly from the federal government based on their proportion of the state’s three-year violent crime average.

States and U.S. territories also receive a JAG award each year for competitive funding to local and state agencies not qualifying for the local allocations. Your request needs to fit into the strategic plan the state/territory submits to the Department of Justice. Reach out to your State Administering Agency (SAA) representative to discuss your campaign needs and inquire if it would be eligible for funding.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) – Rural Development Community Facilities Grants

The U.S.D.A. Rural Development Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program is available to communities across the country. If you are located in a rural area, and qualify because of your population size and poverty level, you should consider applying for funding under this program. Street improvements and public safety services and equipment are among the essential community facilities covered under this federal program.

Public/Private Partnership Funding Sources

Road to Zero – Safe Systems Innovation Grants

The Road to Zero program, launched through a partnership of the National Safety Council, Federal Highway Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has a goal to eliminate roadway deaths within 30 years. Annually, $1 million has been committed through this partnership to support innovative roadway fatality reduction programs. To qualify, an organization must clearly explain how its innovative program will reduce roadway fatalities, set a time frame for the reduction, outline how the program will be evaluated, detail how the organization intends to reach its target audience and list the funds requested.

Drug-Impaired Driving Grants

The Governor’s Highway Safety Association has partnered with the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (FAAR) to offer grants to states to provide advanced training, information and skills on detecting drivers under the influence of drugs. To date, this partnership has trained more than 1,000 officers in drug-impaired driving detection.

Corporate and Private Foundation Grants

Many corporations, private donors or trade associated organizations have foundations that offer grant opportunities that could support your high-visibility speed enforcement campaign. Your application will be favorably considered if your agency is geographically located within their operating region or your request falls within their current priority focus.

Some of the nation’s largest insurance companies, such as State Farm and MetLife, and automobile manufacturers and rental car companies like Ford, Toyota and Hertz, administer grant programs focus on driving safety, law enforcement and community well-being. Also, law enforcement trade associations including the American Police and Sheriffs Association and The Spirit of Blue Foundation have grants available to support your equipment and training needs.

The Foundation Center is a great source for finding what community foundation(s) represent your area.

Best of luck as you seek funding to support your vital traffic safety campaign. The team at PoliceGrantsHelp is ready to help. Our grant assistance program includes a number of options including grant writing and grant application review.