The American Rescue Plan: Maximize Your Access to This Unprecedented Funding Opportunity

Be sure to prepare your budget, outline financial need and gather qualitative and quantitative examples that demonstrate the need for funding. You must use ARP funds by Dec. 31, 2024. (Photo/Getty)


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The American Rescue Plan (ARP) is a once in a lifetime $1.9 trillion fiscal relief bill passed by the U.S. Congress on March 11, 2021, to continue the United States’ recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Initial relief came from the CARES Act in 2020, in which funding focused on COVID-19 pandemic-related activities and equipment such as personal protective equipment.

Unlike the CARES Act, the ARP is delivering $350 billion directly to states, cities, counties and tribal governments.

This funding is intended to help replace lost revenue and allow impacted agencies and local governments to strategically invest in technology and services.

The guidelines of how funds can be utilized are much broader than those seen with the CARES Act and include technology investments such as CAD, 911 or community development solutions that can be used to prepare for future public health emergencies.

Additionally, the ARP includes smaller municipalities that were not allowed access to funding in the CARES Act.


1. Advocate for your share

The ARP is a direct formula grant, which means recipients do not have to submit a formal application to obtain funds. Local governments will receive funds directly and determine allocations based on local community needs.  

ARP funds must be used by December 31, 2024, which allows your agency or local government time to think strategically about not only what needs exist today for potential technology investments but the longer-term impact this opportunity could have on your community.

For this path, public safety and public administration leaders need to approach their local leadership like it is a competitive grant. This means advocating for your agency and presenting a persuasive proposal to your leadership (i.e., mayor, city council) for the technology investment.

Be strategic in your request. Explain the financial loss caused by the pandemic and connect your proposed technology project to actual COVID-19 response or revenue loss. Explain in detail why you need the funds – and what will happen if you do not get them. 

The ARP funding guidelines are purposefully broad so that localities can determine priorities, which may include an emergency technology purchase to help you respond to community emergencies faster or improve community development, but could include:  

  • CAD
  • 911
  • RMS
  • Finance enterprise
  • Community development
  • Asset management

2. Competitive grants

While ARP funds are directly allocated to cities, states and local governments without an application process, part of the ARP also provides additional funding to existing government grants, such as:

  • $200 million for Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants (SAFER)
  • $100 million for Emergency Management Performance Grant
  • $772.5 million for tribal government services

For this path, the first step is to locate potential funding opportunities and take care of needed pre-registrations. Every year there is more than $600 billion in nationwide grants available to categories such as:

  • Support public health response
  • Replace public sector revenue loss
  • Water and sewer infrastructure
  • Address negative economic impacts
  • Premium pay for essential workers
  • Broadband infrastructure

Once you have identified the grant opportunity, you will need to prepare your budget, outline financial need and gather qualitative and quantitative examples that demonstrate the need. Involve stakeholders early and often and make sure you have identified the authorized organizational representative. To increase chances of success, engage a grants partner to help you through the process.


CentralSquare provides free, unlimited and customized grants assistance to help customers find applicable grants and secure additional funding for their budgets. There are three ways to engage:   

1. Access grant databaseTap into the most extensive grant listing database available, GrantFinder, to easily identify the best grant to fit your agency’s needs.

2. Grant consulting: Unlimited, personalized grant research assistance and coaching from our team of grant experts specific to your agency’s project.

3. Grant application help: Let our grant experts help you best position your grant application for success with detailed application reviews, editing or simply proofreading. Full-service grant writing services are available at discount pricing.

To access the above resources or for more information, visit

Governor Parson Announces $4 Million in New Grant Programs to Combat Crimes Against Children and Provide Additional Support to Crime Victim Service Agencies

Governor Mike Parson announced $4 million in new grant opportunities to combat crimes against children and to provide additional funding to agencies that provide services to crime victims.

“The last two years have created hardships and strained resources across the nation, but the reported rise in crimes affecting children and the difficulties experienced by agencies that provide vital services to crime victims is most concerning,” Governor Parson said. “These new grant programs will allow us to better investigate and prosecute criminals who victimize children and support domestic violence service agencies and child advocacy centers who serve our most vulnerable citizens and help bring criminals to justice.”

A total of $2 million in grant opportunities is being made available to assist local law enforcement and prosecutors to combat crimes against children, which rose in 2020 and 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic. An additional $2 million in grant opportunities is being made available to support crime victim service agencies, which have reported increases in service referrals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two competitive grants will utilize funds previously allocated to Missouri from the federal Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program (CESF). The U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance has approved the reallocation of CESF program funds to meet emergent needs that were not apparent when the CESF opportunity was originally made available. There is no local match required to access the funding. The grants will be administered by the Missouri Department of Public Safety.

The funding opportunity for the Crimes Against Children/Sex Crimes Grant is expected to open August 1, 2021. Projects may include hiring additional staff to investigate, prosecute, and detect crimes against children.  

The funding opportunity for the Victims of Crime Grant is expected to open September 1, 2021. Projects may include providing resource assistance to domestic violence service agencies and child advocacy centers and aiding other entities serving victims from vulnerable populations adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Justice Department to Provide Funding for Body-Worn Cameras to Small, Rural and Tribal Law Enforcement Agencies

The Justice Department announced today that the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) is releasing $7.65 million in a competitive microgrant grant solicitation that will fund body-worn cameras (BWCs) to any law enforcement department with 50 or fewer full-time sworn personnel, rural agencies (those agencies within non-urban or non-metro counties); and federally-recognized Tribal agencies.

“The Justice Department is committed to providing law enforcement with valuable resources to increase accountability and build trust with the communities they serve,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “Today we encourage all small, rural and Tribal law enforcement agencies to apply for funding for this important tool that will enhance protection for both officers and citizens.”

“The grant solicitation today will help law enforcement agencies and their communities improve evidentiary outcomes, and enhance the safety of, and improve interactions between, officers and the public,” said Acting Director Kristen Mahoney of BJA. “Importantly, this grant program will make it easier for small, rural and Tribal law enforcement agencies to apply for funding. It’s an online application that will streamline the grant process for these agencies.”

Funds must be used to purchase or lease body-worn cameras and may include expenses reasonably related to BWC program implementation. Funding can be used to support pilot BWC programs, establish new BWC implementation or expand existing programs.

BJA has selected Justice & Security Strategies Inc. to administer the grant program through a cooperative agreement. For more information and to apply, please visit All applications are due by August 31, 2021.

Agencies interested in body-worn camera funding that do not meet the eligibility criteria for small, rural and Tribal as described in the microgrant solicitation should note that the FY 2021 Body-Worn Camera Policy and Implementation Program to Support Law Enforcement Agencies grant solicitation is currently open. That solicitation will close on July 12, 2021. The anticipated total amount to be awarded under that solicitation is $27.5 million.

Today’s announcement follows Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco’s recent memo  to the department’s law enforcement components directing them to develop and submit for review their plans for BWC policies that require agents to wear and activate BWC recording equipment for purposes of recording their actions during: (1) a pre-planned attempt to serve an arrest warrant or other pre-planned arrest, including the apprehension of fugitives sought on state and local warrants; or (2) the execution of a search or seizure warrant or order. The Deputy Attorney General will work with the department’s law enforcement components in the coming weeks to review their policies and finalize implementation plans. 

For resources to support the development and implementation of body-worn camera programs, the Department of Justice has created a Body-Worn Camera Tool Kit.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance helps to make American communities safer by strengthening the nation’s criminal justice system. BJA’s grants, cooperative agreements, training and technical assistance and policy development services provide state, local and Tribal governments with the cutting-edge tools and best practices they need to reduce violent and drug-related crime, support law enforcement and combat victimization.

BJA is a component of the Office of Justice ProgramsU.S. Department of Justice. The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, advance racial equity in the administration of justice, assist victims and enhance the rule of law. More information about OJP and its components can be found at

New COPS Grant Funding Opportunities are Open

The COPS Office is pleased to announce that the following grant funding opportunity is now open and accepting applications:

Community Policing Development (CPD) – Full Solicitation Now Open

Community Policing Development funds are used to develop the capacity of law enforcement to implement community policing strategies by providing guidance on promising practices through the development and testing of innovative strategies; building knowledge about effective practices and outcomes; and supporting new, creative approaches to preventing crime and promoting safe communities.  

The 2021 CPD program will fund projects that develop knowledge, increase awareness of effective community policing strategies, increase the skills and abilities of law enforcement and community partners, increase the number of law enforcement agencies and relevant stakeholders using proven community policing practices, and institutionalize community policing practice in routine business.

Portions of the CPD solicitation pertaining to Crisis Intervention Teams and Microgrants previously opened on May 20, 2021.  Today’s announcement opens the following portions of the CPD solicitation:

  • De-escalation Training: Up to $15,000,000 is available for officer training in de-escalation techniques, of which no less than $4,250,000 is for grants to regional de-escalation training centers that are administered by accredited institutions of higher education and offer de-escalation training certified by a national certification program and $8,750,000 is for grants to state and local law enforcement agencies to build and maintain officer de-escalation proficiency.
  • Accreditation: Up to $5,000,000 is available to expand accreditation programs and assist agencies with gaining accreditation to ensure compliance with national and international standards covering all aspects of law enforcement policies, procedures, practices, and operations, of which no less than $1,500,000 is to be provided for small and rural law enforcement agencies for this purpose.
  • Tolerance, Diversity, and Anti-Bias Online Training: Up to $2,000,000 is available for grants to support tolerance, diversity, and anti-bias training programs offered by organizations with well-established experience training law enforcement personnel and criminal justice profes​​sionals.

For these portions of the CPD solicitation, applications are due by July 22, 2021 at 7:59 PM EDT.  Click here for more information on the 2021 Community Policing Development program.​​

Apply Now for Patrick Leahy Bulletproof Vest Partnership Funding

The Patrick Leahy Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP), created by the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Act of 1998 is a unique U.S. Department of Justice initiative​​ designed to provide a critical resource to state and local law enforcement.

ONE MILLION VESTS: Since 1999, the BVP program has awarded more than 13,000 jurisdictions a total of $522 million in federal funds for the purchase of over one million vests (1,441,013) as of November 2020.

NEW: The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) is pleased to announce the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 BVP application funding period. Applications for FY 2021 BVP funds will be accepted beginning April 29, 2021. All applications must be submitted online by 6:00 p.m. (Eastern Time), June 14, 2021. A SAM registration is required for 2021 BVP applicants.

NEW: The Fiscal Year 2020 BVP awards have been announced. See the complete list of FY 2020 BVP awards.

System for Award Management (SAM) Registration Requirement:  Jurisdictions must be registered in SAM in order to receive access to FY 2018-2020 BVP award funds. Jurisdictions not registered with SAM are strongly encouraged to access the SAM website at as soon as possible in order to obtain information on and complete the online SAM registration process.  For more information about renewing and updating your existing SAM registration, or registering in SAM as a new entity, please visit  The SAM Helpdesk can be reached at 866-606-8220.

Documentation Requirement:  Grantees are required to keep documentation to support the BVP vest application and payment requests for at least a three year period.

Other Federal Funds:  Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) funds or other federal funding sources may not be used to pay for that portion of the bullet proof vest (50%) that is not covered by BVP funds. JAG or other federal funds may be used to purchase vests for an agency, but they may not be used as the 50% match for BVP purposes.

Uniquely Fitted Armor Vest Requirement – Jurisdictions receiving funding for reimbursement of body armor purchases must have in place a uniquely fitted vest requirement when the FY 2019 BVP applications are submitted.

In the BVP Program, “uniquely fitted vests” means protective (ballistic or stab-resistant) armor vests that conform to the individual wearer to provide the best possible fit and coverage, through a combination of:  

  • 1) correctly-sized panels and carrier, determined through appropriate measurement, and
  • 2) properly adjusted straps, harnesses, fasteners, flaps, or other adjustable features.  

The requirement that body armor be “uniquely fitted” does not necessarily require body armor that is individually manufactured based on the measurements of an individual wearer.  In support of the Office of Justice Programs’ efforts to improve officer safety, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International has made available the Standard Practice for Body Armor Wearer Measurement and Fitting of Armor (Active Standard ASTM E3003) available at no cost.  The Personal Armor Fit Assessment checklist, is excerpted from ASTM E3003.

In addition, a certification section has been added to the 2019 application (in the BVP system) stating the jurisdictions and law enforcement agency are aware of and will comply with this requirement.

NEW! UPDATED Mandatory Wear FAQs

Following two years of declining law enforcement officer line-of-duty deaths, the country realized a dramatic 37 percent increase in officer deaths in 2010.  Fifty-nine of the 160 officers killed in 2010 were shot during violent encounters; a 20 percent increase over 2009 numbers.  

The U.S. Department of Justice is committed to improving officer safety and has undertaken research to review and analyze violent encounters and law enforcement officer deaths and injuries.  

Due to the increase in the number of law enforcement officer deaths, coupled with our renewed efforts to improve officer safety, beginning with FY 2011, in order to receive BVP funds, jurisdictions must certify, during the application process, that all law enforcement agencies benefitting from the BVP Program have a written “mandatory wear” policy in effect.  This policy must be in place for at least all uniformed officers before any FY 2011 funding can be used by the agency.  There are no requirements regarding the nature of the policy other than it being a mandatory wear policy for all uniformed officers while on duty.  

BJA strongly encourages agencies to consult the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s Model Policy on Body Armor and to strongly consider all recommendations within that policy.  This policy change was announced in October 2010 by Attorney General Holder after consulting with and receiving input from the law enforcement community.

The IACP has very generously provided both its Body Armor Model Policy and position paper to the BVP program.  In order to obtain a copy of the Model Policy and position paper, jurisdictions must be registered with the BVP program.  To obtain a copy of the Model Policy, contact the BVP Customer Support Center at 1-877-758-3787 or email

For additional information regarding this new BVP program requirement, click here.