The Community Policing Development (CPD) Accreditation Program Grant

A step-by-step guide on how to apply in time for the July 22, 2021 deadline

June 24, 2021

On June 3, 2021 COPS announced the Community Policing Development (CPD) Accreditation Program. To apply for funding through this program, you will need to complete the application on grants.gov as well as JustGrants. 

  • The grants.gov deadline is July 21, 2021 at 7:59 PM ET. 
  • The JustGrants/final application deadline is July 22, 2021 by 7:59 pm ET. 

There are four subcategories of funds associated with this grant:

  • Address gaps in state accreditation: This supports establishing accreditation entities for states that do not currently have an accrediting body. 
  • Enhancing existing law enforcement accreditation entities: To help existing law enforcement accrediting bodies make it easier for agencies to get accredited.
  • Supporting tribal agency accreditation: To help existing law enforcement accrediting bodies make it easier for tribal agencies to get accredited.
  • Supporting law enforcement agencies in seeking accreditation: For local, state, tribal, and territorial law enforcement agencies that are seeking first time accreditation.

This article was created for law enforcement agencies seeking accreditation for the first time (item four on the above list). This is a 24-month award, up to $75,000. 

These funds can be used toward sworn officer salaries, civilian employee salaries, sworn officer overtime, contracts for staff, accreditation fees, and costs associated with internal training for personnel as well as any other expenses directly related to an agency’s ability to successfully obtain accreditation. This does include purchasing PowerDMS software.

Grant Process Overview

Applying for the COPS grant requires many steps, but this article will walk you through the process so your agency can submit your application by the July 21st and 22nd deadlines. To help you understand the effort involved, below is a high-level summary of steps. The remainder of this article will walk you through each step specifically and will also include tips and links to help resources.

The high-level process of applying for this grant is as follows:

  • Complete an SF-424 using grants.gov
  • Determine the amount of funding you would like to request (we’ll provide a guide to walk you through the process).
  • Complete and submit SF-424 via grants.gov
  • Complete the application process via JustGrants. This application requires your agency to submit the following information
    • A Project Narrative
    • A Budget Narrative
    • Budget Detail Worksheets
    • Resumes of Key Personnel

Even with the tips and templates we will be providing it will still take some time to prepare all the materials for your agency. We recommend you start the process as soon as possible to ensure it’s submitted before or by the July 22, 2021 at 7:59 PM ET deadline

Important Tip

Before submitting and finalizing your application, check with your county or municipal government to verify you are allowed to accept grant funds. Some local governments must approve all funds because of potential negative publicity that could result from funds being used inappropriately.

Want a printable checklist of all the grant steps?
We created one for you.

Download COPS Grant Checklist

Helpful Resources

Here’s a list of resources to keep on hand in case you run into any issues:

  1. Here is the COPS grant page, where you will find an overview of the grant submission dates as well as the solicitation guide.
  2. For the grant supplemental application materials and support, visit https://cops.usdoj.gov/Supplemental-Applications-Materials-and-Additional-Support
  3. For technical assistance with submitting the SF-424, contact the Grants.gov customer service at 800-518-4726 or via email to support@Grants.gov. This support is available 24/7 with the exception of federal holidays.
  4. For technical support with the Justice Grants System (JustGrants) application, please contact the JustGrants Support at JustGrants.Support@usdoj.gov or 833-872-5175. This support is available seven days a week 9am to 5pm as well as on federal holidays.
  5. For programmatic assistance with the requirements of this program, contact the COPS Office Response Center at 800-421-6770 or via AskCopsRC@usdoj.gov. The COPS Office Response Center is available M–F, 9am to 5pm ET, except on federal holidays.
  6. For questions related to PowerDMS including cost, how to talk about the product, or anything discussed in this guide, email us at grants@powerdms.com. We will be available to respond M–F, 9am to 5pm ET.

Now that you have a high-level understanding of the grant process, let’s dive in deeper with step-by-step instructions on how to apply for this grant. This article is a summary of the Community Policing Development (CPD) Accreditation Solicitation. You can obtain the full solicitation document by clicking here.

Step 1: Obtain or confirm a DUNS number

The Federal Government requires all applicants to have a Data University Numbering System (DUNS) number. This nine- or thirteen-digit identification number is used to identify your organization. If your agency doesn’t already have one, it can be obtained by calling 866-705-5711 or by visiting https://fedgov.dnb.com/webform. It could take up to five business days to obtain the DUNS number.

If you aren’t sure whether or not you have a DUNS number, call 866-705-5711 and say that you are a federal award applicant or prospective applicant. This telephone line is staffed from 8am to 6pm local time. To obtain the DUNS number you will need to provide the following information, so be sure to have it on hand:

  • Legal name of your organization 
  • Headquarters name and address for your organization 
  • Doing business as (DBA) or other name by which your organization is commonly known or recognized 
  • Physical address, city, state, and ZIP code 
  • Mailing address (if separate from headquarters and/or physical address)
  • Telephone number 
  • Contact name and title 
  • Number of employees at your physical location 

Step 2: Register in the SAM database or confirm SAM number

All applicants must maintain current registrations in the System for Award Management (SAM) database. This database replaces the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database. You must update or renew your SAM registration annually to maintain an active status. 

If you were previously registered in the CCR database, you will need to:

  1. Create a SAM account
  2. Log into the SAM database and migrate permissions to the SAM account

You can contact the SAM Service Desk at 866-606-8220. You can also view or update your registration information at https://www.sam.gov

If you don’t have a SAM, you will need to complete the following steps:

  1. Obtain a DUNS number
  2. Complete the SAM registration at https://www.sam.gov. This will take approximately 30 minutes to finish. Your organization must update or renew your SAM registration at least once a year to maintain active status.

If you already have a SAM registration, you will need to complete the following steps:

  1. Login to the SAM homepage by visiting https://sam.gov/content/home
  2. Under “Registration/Update Entity,” click “Complete Registrations”
  3. Select the entity you are updating and click “Update” 

Important Tip

If you are awarded funds for this grant, your agency must maintain your information in the SAM database until you submit the final finance report or receive final payment, whichever is later.

Step 3: Confirm grants.gov registration or create an account

If you don’t already have a login for grants.gov, create an account. Look for the “Register” link in the top right hand corner of the webpage. Here’s an overview of how to register for an account on grants.gov. If you already have a grants.gov account, confirm you can still log in.

Step 4: Confirm or obtain AOR role

An authorized organization representative (AOR) is the person responsible for submitting the SF-424 in Grants.gov. Your grants.gov login must have this role in order to submit the SF-424 and to apply for the grant. It’s important to note that only the EBiz POC profile can assign another user an AOR role. This article explains how the EBiz POC can authorize the role. 

Step 5: Determine a rough estimate of funding

The SF-424 requires an estimate of funding. To help you determine how much funds to request, consider working through the following questions. We generated these questions after reading through the Budget Worksheet and Budget Narrative starting on page 24 of the solicitation document. We recommend documenting your initial thoughts for use later in the Budget Narrative (a required document for the application submission).

  • Civilian personnel: Will you be hiring a civilian accreditation manager (sworn officer salaries aren’t allowable for this solicitation)? If so, what are the base salary and fringe benefit costs?
  • Travel: Does your accrediting body have any training or conference events that would be beneficial for key agency staff to attend? Reach out to the accrediting body for an estimate of travel costs your agency may incur. Travel costs within a 50-mile radius are not allowable, neither are food/beverage costs at conferences.
  • Equipment: Do you need to purchase any equipment, including information technology systems, that has a useful life of more than one year or a per-unit acquisition cost that equals or exceeds $5,000? Depending on your needs, you could request funds for PowerDMS in this section.
  • Supplies: Do you need to purchase paper, printer ink, pens, laptops, etc? Supplies are considered consumable and relatively low cost units that cost less than $5,000.
  • Other costs: Do you need something not included in the other categories that will ensure the success of your project? Again, depending on your needs, you could request funds for PowerDMS in this section.
  • Indirect costs: Do you have any costs that aren’t directly associated with this project, but necessary for the operation of your agency or the project performance?

Important Tip

If you would like to include PowerDMS in your cost estimates, email us at grants@powerdms.com to obtain a quote for your agency.

Step 6: Complete the SF-424

Fill out form SF-424. Visit this page to download the PDF version of the SF-424 form, and for instructions on the different fields and how to complete them. Here’s a helpful overview video of how to complete the fields.

Need help completing the SF-424?
We created a sample one for you.

Download sample SF-424 form

Step 7: Submit the SF-424 form

In order to submit the SF-424 you will need to be logged into a grants.gov account with authorized organization representative (AOR) access. Assuming your account has AOR access, you will create a workspace and then submit the grant. Here’s a video on how to create a workspace.

Step 8: Receive grant instructions via email

After the SF-424 has been submitted, an email will be sent to your EBiz POC from DIAMD-NoReply@usdoj.gov. This email will contain instructions on how to complete the second part of the application on JustGrants.

Step 9: Complete the application on JustGrants

The application on JustGrants will include several different elements. Here’s a summary of the different pieces you will need to complete:

  • High-level proposal abstract (2,000 words or less)
  • Online survey narrative questions
  • A Project Narrative (this will primarily determine whether or not your project will be funded)
  • The web-based goal, objectives, deliverables, and timeline section
  • The web-based budget sheets, or attach a separate Budget Narrative in the “Budget/Financial Attachments” section
  • Upload the following attachments to the application:
    • Curriculum Vitae or résumés for up to three key project staff, detailing work and educational history and highlighting any experience that is relevant to their ability to successfully carry out the proposed project
    • A timeline
    • Letters of support
  • The Disclosure of Lobbying Activities form
  • Sign and acknowledge the Standard Assurances form
  • Read and acknowledge the statements in the Declaration and Certification to DOJ concerning your Application Submission
  • Sign and acknowledge the Standard Certifications form

Important Tip

Make sure to clearly name all uploaded files to indicate the applicant organization name and the file contents. This will make it easier for reviewers to locate your application documents.

Step 10: Award decisions

Awards will be announced on or after October 1, 2021. Award notification will be sent electronically.

For detailed information on the review criteria and scoring, visit page 41 of the Community Policing Development (CPD) Accreditation Solicitation document.

Next steps

Time is of the essence to meet this deadline, but this a great opportunity for your agency to unlock up to $75,000 over a two year period to help your agency achieve accreditation for the first time. 

Proper funding and resources is often the largest barrier an agency faces when seeking to start the accreditation process. This grant could be the difference between your agency overcoming the funding hurdle.

We want to help any way we can. Complete the form below to get access to a sample proposal abstract, project narrative template, and budget narrative template.

Need help applying for this grant?
Complete the form to get access to our free templates.

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