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Working hard for grant funding

With technology constantly changing and needs evolving over time the Fredericktown Police Department has combated its funding issues by seeking out grants to fulfill some of those challenges.

The department and Police Clerk Erica Johnson have made it a point to stay informed of possible grants which could help the department.

“Some grants we apply for every year such as the Local Law Enforcement Block Grant (LLEBG), MoDOT Highway Safety and Traffic Division and Arrive Alive,” Johnson said. “This year I learned about the LiveScan grant while attending the Police Clerk Conference and I have set up an account with the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and they send emails when law enforcement grants that might fit our profile become available.”

Johnson said she monitors multiple websites such as the Mo. Department of Public Safety and sometimes receives mailings advising of available grants. She also said Police Chief Eric Hovis lets her know when he hears of something available.

“Basically, we know where to watch, and we keep our eyes and ears open for new opportunities,” Johnson said.

Some of the most recent grants the department has applied for and been awarded include the Arrive Alive grant through the Southeast Coalition for Roadway Safety, monetary grants through the Missouri Department of Transportation Highway Safety office, LLEBG and the Missouri Law Enforcement LiveScan Project through the Missouri Police Chiefs Charitable Foundation (MPCCF).

Johnson said this year the Arrive Alive grant awarded the department three LED flare kits and four 28-inch lighted collapsible cones.

Other grants, such as those through the MoDOT Highway Safety office, are for overtime reimbursement for projects such as the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over DWI Enforcement, Click It or Ticket, Child Passenger Safety and other various safety belt campaigns. 

One of the most notable of the grants awarded to the department is the 2018 LLEBG which allowed the purchase of up to $9,100 for ten extended-capacity wearable cameras. Johnson said the cameras will be purchased as soon as the funds become available which she believes will be later this month.

The department was also awarded a grant in the amount of $18,125 for the LiveScan fingerprint software and equipment from the Missouri Highway Patrol, as well as on-site training. 

“It is so beneficial for us to be able to apply to multiple agencies for grants,” Johnson said. “Without this assistance, we would not be able to attain much of this equipment, as there is no room in the budget. Also, since many of the grants are for overtime reimbursement, this allows us to have more officers patrolling for hazardous drivers, drunk or drugged drivers and various other safety violations.”

Johnson said while some grants are as easy as filling out the application others can take a month to gather the necessary information. She joked that sometimes she feels she needs a degree in composition just to complete some of the applications.

“Each grant is unique, so some take a week, while others may require a month to obtain everything necessary,” Johnson said. “Some may take a matter of just a few minutes, it just depends on what we are requesting and how involved the application process is.”

Johnson said she usually has to research the equipment and get quotes for the items the department is requesting as well as fill out a project summary.

“There is usually some type of equipment justification, where I write a narrative about what we are requesting and how it will be used,” Johnson. “Some grants ask for a history of the project agency, which is a narrative about our location, services offered by the department and the number of officers and vehicles in the department.” 

Johnson said she then writes a narrative defining the problem the department will be attempting correct with the project it is requesting the funds for, including statistics and current facts to demonstrate a need for funding and why the assistance is needed.

“They often ask for information about the community impact, describing how the proposed project will affect the community that we serve and the public safety and crime-related issues within the community,” Johnson said. “I often have to provide audit information, which helps them determine a need for assistance and then it’s obtaining all of the signatures needed, whether from the Chief of Police, Mayor or City Administrator.”

Johnson said these funds have to be closely monitored and every penny spent has to be reported.

“When we receive funding for the overtime reimbursement, then I have to send in the vouchers throughout the year as each enforcement period passes to actually receive the reimbursement,” Johnson said. “So really it entails more than just a one time application. Same with the LLEBG, or any government grant we receive. You have to closely monitor those funds and report on every penny spent and keep a good inventory of the equipment purchased.”

Johnson said the department will continue to apply for as many grants as become available for things that would be useful for the department and the community.

The Fredericktown Police Department and Police Clerk Erica Johnson apply for various grant to help fund the department.

The Fredericktown Police Department and Police Clerk Erica Johnson apply for various grant to help fund the department.

Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Democrat News. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at vkemper@democratnewsonline.com

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