What agencies with pending CHP Grants applications need to know

There are a few key changes from 2011 to 2012 CHP

The COPS Hiring Program (CHP) applications are due March 22, 2012. Please note that this is NOT an open solicitation. The 2012 CHP is open only to those agencies with a pending 2011 CHP application to apply for 2012 funding.  With that said if you have a pending 2011 application please read all of the published materials available to fully understand the requirement of this solicitation. 

There are many changes to the rules and application requirements for all departments with pending 2011 CHP applications. Please go to the COPS website and first review the 2012 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document for details as all departments with a 2011 pending application must respond even if you do not intend to utilize the CHP 2012 opportunity to apply for and hire new officers in 2012 positions.

The COPS fact sheet provides the following information concerning funding provisions for this solicitation:

2012 CHP grants will provide up to 75 percent of the approved entry-level salaries and fringe benefits of full-time officers for a 36-month grant period, with a minimum 25 percent local cash match requirement and a maximum federal share of $125,000 per officer position. 2012 CHP grants may be used on or after the official grant award start date to: (1) hire new officers who are military veterans (including filling existing officer vacancies that are no longer funded in an agency’s budget); (2) rehire officers laid off by any jurisdiction as a result of state, local, or Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) budget reductions unrelated to the receipt of grant funding; or (3) rehire officers scheduled to be laid off (at the time of updated application) from your department on a specific future date as a result of state, local, or BIA budget reductions unrelated to the receipt of grant funding. CHP applicants may request funding in one or more of the above-referenced hiring categories.

Agencies requesting CHP funding for new hire positions will be required to hire a new officer who is a military veteran. For 2012 CHP, a military veteran is defined as an individual who has served on active duty at any time in the armed forces for a period of more than 180 consecutive days, any part of which occurred during the period on or after September 11, 2001, and who has been discharged or released from active duty in the armed forces under honorable conditions. The new military veteran requirement only applies to officer positions awarded under the new hire category.

Additional COPS publications and resources are posted online at www.cops.usdoj.gov.

The COPS Office has capped the number of officers that an agency can request through the FY2012 CHP program. All agencies’ requests will be capped at no more than 5 percent of their actual sworn force strength as reported on the date of application, up to a maximum of 25 officers. Additionally, the request of any agency with a sworn force strength less than or equal to 20 will be capped at one officer. Agencies whose eligible requests were partially funded in FY2011 will have their eligible request reduced by the number of positions they were awarded in FY2011. CHP grant funding will be based on the current full-time entry-level salary and fringe benefits package of an officer in the department. Any additional costs for higher than entry-level salaries and fringe benefits will be the responsibility of the grantee agency.

For those departments with a 2011 CHP application who hired less than the 2011 requested number of officers, they may now request the remaining positions for hire. For example, in 2011 if the department requested 10 officers but hired only 4, the department may request the 6 remaining positions be grants in this year’s application.  In other words, you may only request the unfunded number of positions remaining within the total number requested in the 2011 application.

Here are other key changes from 2011 to 2012 CHP:

Veteran hires only
Any new hires must be military veterans. Any new hires other than military veterans will be considered an unallowable cost. Police departments will not be able to modify their grant to become exempt from this requirement. IF the agency’s economic condition changes after receiving the 2012 grant resulting in the layoffs of position and they wish to change the hiring category, the COPS office will only consider a modification request into the rehire category for post-application layoffs after an agency has made final, approved budget and personnel decisions
If your department was awarded a new hire under the 2012 CHP, and you already have a military veteran in the department that you would like to deploy into the field to perform community policing activities, you will be required to fill the new hire with another military veteran.

Non-supplanting requirement still required
The non-supplanting requirement is a legal requirement in the Public Safety and Community Policing Act, which is the COPS Office’s authorizing statute. The non-supplanting requirement means COPS grant funds must be used to supplement (not replace) state, local or Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) funds that would have been dedicated toward law enforcement if federal funding had not been awarded. As it applies to your agency’s CHP grant, grantees must not reduce the level of state, local or BIA funding that would have been dedicated toward sworn officer positions as a result of receiving federal funding.

Retention requirement still required
Under CHP, the retention requirement establishes that grant recipients must plan to retain at the time of grant application and actually retain each officer position awarded for at least one year (12 months) following the conclusion of three years (36 months) of federal funding for that position. The additional officer positions should be added to the grantee’s law enforcement budget with state and/or local funds, over and above the number of locally-funded officer positions that would have existed in the absence of the grant. Absorbing CHP-funded officers through attrition, rather than by adding the extra positions to your budget with additional funding, does not meet the retention requirement. The grant has a start and end date; however, the actual 36-month period begins for an awarded officer position when that position has been filled. If the position becomes vacant during the award period, your agency must hire a new, additional officer to fill the position. The retention period begins for an awarded officer position once that position has completed the 36-month implementation period. If an agency is awarded several officer positions, the retention period for each individual officer position begins based on the completion of 36 months of funding for each position (not based on the cumulative overall grant award end date).

Match requirement has changed
The 2012 CHP has a 25% match requirement for the entry level hiring positions (no longer 100% of the previous years). The grant will offer 75 % of the position and the department must provide a match of 25%. In the limited cases of agencies that offer more than one entry-level salary and benefit package based on prior education for new officers with no prior law enforcement experience, you may average those salaries and benefits to report your entry-level salary and benefits. Please note, however, that any higher salaries and benefits that are paid to compensate for prior law enforcement experience are not considered entry-level and should not be included in this average or otherwise reported as entry-level. If awarded CHP funding an agency must only use CHP funding to pay the actual entry-level officer’s salary and benefits and any CHP funds remaining after the 36-month award period will be de-obligated

For more information concerning the 2012 CHP application requirements, rules, policies and details please go the COPS website and review all of the posted 2012 CHP solicitation documents. If you still have remaining questions after reading the posted information you may contact the COPS Office Response Center at 1.800.421.6770.

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