By Melissa Winesburg-Ankrom
Many law enforcement agencies applied for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus funds. The Department of Justice will complete its awards to law enforcement and criminal justice agencies across the country this week. In February, the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) announced that stimulus grant funds totaling over $3.77 billion were available for local law enforcement. The law enforcement grant programs included the Justice Assistance Grant local grants, Justice Assistance Grant , Byrne Competitive grants, Rural Law Enforcement, the Southern Border and High Intensity Drug Trafficking (HIDTA) grants, and COPS grants through the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
To date, BJA has awarded all of the Edward Byrne Memorial state grants totaling $1.236 billion, and many states have already issued application directives that allow local law enforcement to apply for funds through the state.
Law enforcement agencies not receiving COPS funding during this round received a letter notifying them that their applications may be considered for funding in October. There remains approximately $299 million in Edward Byrne Competitive and Rural Law Enforcement funds to be awarded in the next two weeks. This funding will impact law enforcement and criminal justice for years to come.
While this funding is important to law enforcement, organizations receiving funds need to prepare to manage ARRA grants with precision. Programmatic and fiscal staff will need to work closely together to ensure that projects are well managed.
President Obama has made it clear that ARRA funds will be subjected to very close scrutiny and a high level of transparency is expected. Once an award is received, grantees should immediately review all special conditions prior to signing and accepting the award. ARRA federal reporting requirements are outlined in the special conditions.
In addition to the regular semi-annual report requirements, agencies receiving funds should place special emphasis on quarterly reporting required through the Federal Reporting Center. Any agency receiving and accepting awards prior to September 30th is required to submit their first quarterly report due on October 10th.
Agencies can register at www.FederalReporting.gov. This registration process can take up to eight days. These reports require recipients to document a description of the project, percent of project complete, amount of funds received to date, number and description of jobs created, and description of quarterly activities. Recipients should review the report requirements upon receipt of award so that they are prepared to report the required information quarterly.
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