Ways to fund accreditation in law enforcement

There are numerous sources to help you fund accreditation for your law enforcement agency.

May 21, 2021

Getting accredited requires financial resources. There are accreditation fees, personnel costs, and the cost of paper or technology to complete a self-assessment. Additionally, some accrediting bodies require your agency to cover the travel expenses of onsite assessors.

The good news is there are an increasing number of ways to tap into funding to support your agency's accreditation efforts. This article will explore different funding sources that your agency may be able to take advantage of.

Seek out grants

On June 3, 2021 COPS announced the Community Policing Development (CPD) Accreditation Program. There is $4.6 million in funds set aside through fiscal year 2021 and they can be used for agencies seeking accreditation. According to the Community Policing Development (CPD) Accreditation Solicitation (page 9) agencies can obtain multiple awards up to $75,000 to fund 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.

There are a number of training and technology grants available from any number of federal and state agencies that could help you recoup some accreditation costs, like investing in technology. There is also the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program which can be used to fund technology tools to assist with accreditation.

Many states are also evaluating additional funding programs to help agencies obtain accreditation. Arkansas just established The Public Safety Equipment Grant Program, which provides $41 million in grant monies that could be used for accreditation and technology tools like PowerDMS.

Research your local area to see what new funding opportunities there may be.

Speak to your risk pool/insurer

It’s increasingly common for risk pools and insurers to provide grants, discounts, or incentives to accredited agencies. Reach out to your insurer to see what programs they may offer, but here are a handful of examples.

The Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority provides the Standard Grants & Certification and Accreditation Program to assist member agencies in their risk management efforts. These grants provide funding for technology tools shown to reduce risk, as well as funds to cover accreditation fees.

Olympus Insurance based in Utah has begun paying the accreditation fees, as well as the cost of accreditation software, for agencies. The Washington Cities Insurance Authority will pay for up to $1,000 worth of an agency’s accreditation fees. The Maine Municipal Association helps fund the state-level accreditation program, Maine Law Enforcement Accreditation Program (MLEAP), and offers a 15% discount to agencies that achieve MLEAP accreditation.

Delaware Valley Trusts (DViT) , which operates in Delaware and Pennsylvania, provides their members with grants and partial funding to cover the cost of a policy management software subscription and a 10% discount on insurance for being accredited. 

The Kentucky League of Cities Insurance Services (KLCIS) incentivizes agencies to obtain accreditation through CALEA or the Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police (KACP) by offering a 10% discount to all agencies that get accredited. Additionally, they offer a Safety Grant up to $3,000, which can be used to pay for accreditation fees.

At PowerDMS, we work with accrediting bodies and insurers to make it easier for agencies to get accredited. For example, we partnered with the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police (ACCOP) and the Arizona Law Enforcement Accreditation Program (ALEAP) to provide any agency in Arizona seeking ALEAP accreditation free access to our accreditation management software.

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Ask your city or county government

Ask your city or county leadership to come up with extra funding for your accreditation – this is especially important for small departments in small towns and cities.

There have been several stories of cities in California, Illinois, Louisiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee that were forced to disband their entire police force after losing their liability insurance. It is in the city's best interest to help your agency fund accreditation, because an accredited law enforcement agency is more effective, more responsive, and less likely to be sued.

With increased scrutiny of law enforcement, now is the time to ask for funds to help improve transparency, trust, and accountability with your community.

Important steps in funding accreditation

The most important step in funding your accreditation efforts, regardless of where the money came from, is to earmark all funding in a budget to protect it from being sent elsewhere. This is where having top-level leadership buy-in will help protect you.

Step 1: Establish your budget

Step 2: Seek all sources of funding for it

Step 3: Make sure it's appropriately earmarked

Step 4: Keep your leadership apprised of your various efforts. Let them know how the funding will be put to use, and demonstrate your progress along the way.

Now that you understand the different ways to fund accreditation for your agency, don't miss our article on how technology can simplify accreditation.

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