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Community Policing Hiring Grants: Grant Application and Monitoring Processes Could Be Improved to Further Ensure Grantees Advance Community Policing

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2013
49 pages
This Government Accountability Office (GAO) study reviewed key grant management practices within the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), with a focus on the COPS Hiring Program (CHP) funding from fiscal years 2008 through 2012; which awarded grants to law enforcement agencies for hiring law enforcement officers, rehiring officers who have been laid off, or preventing scheduled officer layoffs.
Although CHP-funded officers are required to be specifically engaged in the community policing activities described on the grant application, less than 20 percent of the grant applications approved in 2010, 2011, and 2012 contained evidence that showed how the additional officers would be deployed in community policing. The grant application should be revised to clarify for applicants that CHP-funded officers are required to be the personnel specifically engaged in the community policing activities described on the application. Although the COPS Office's risk-based approach to monitoring assesses how grantees are using funds to advance community policing, the monitoring could be improved through additional guidance on what qualifies as community policing. The authorizing statute for the COPS grant programs prohibits "supplanting," i.e., using Federal funds to replace State or local funds. For 5 of the 21 grantees at risk for supplanting, GAO found that the monitors did not document their analyses of supplanting, and it was not clear how they reached conclusions regarding supplanting, although the manual requires monitors to document their supplanting analysis in instances in which supplanting is identified. Monitors should be required to document their results when they determine that supplanting has not occurred. This would enable the COPS Office to ensure that monitors are consistently assessing supplanting.