Funding Alert! School Violence Prevention Program Grants

Department of Justice– Office of Community Oriented Policing Services

Attention school district and government leaders! The Department of Justice (DOJ) – Office of Community Oriented Policing Services is accepting applications for the COPS Office 2023 School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP). The COPS Office is responsible for advancing the practice of community policing by the nation’s state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies through information and grant resources. The goal of the SVPP program is to improve security at schools and on school grounds through the implementation of evidence-based school safety programs and technology.

Who is eligible to apply?

This opportunity is for governments (city, township, county, and state), including federally-recognized Native American tribal governments, school districts and school boards (public charter schools and districts with a single school), and law enforcement agencies. The program requires two or more entities who would carry out a federal award; however, only one entity may be the lead applicant, with the second entity identified as a proposed recipient. Applications are to be prepared after consultation with others (e.g., local police, social workers) to ensure that the improvements funded contribute to a comprehensive approach to preventing school violence and are individualized to the needs of each school. Consulting entities include law enforcement officers, school violence researchers/academics, licensed mental health professionals, school personnel, social workers, and other school personnel.

What are the program details?

The COPS Office anticipates SVPP awardees will contribute to its goal of “improving security at schools through evidence-based school safety programs and technology” by funding projects which include funding civilian personnel to serve as coordinators with local law enforcement, training for local law enforcement officers, purchase and installation of allowable equipment and technology, and other measures to significantly improve school security. Anticipated outcomes include:

  • improved information sharing with local law enforcement;
  • increased interaction and improved communications between law enforcement and school officials;
  • reduced notification times to law enforcement;
  • improved response time to threats and events; accurate identification of danger and follow-up;
  • increased knowledge of and use of community policing principles; and
  • increased school safety and sustainability planning efforts.

Proposed projects should include:

  • Maintaining effective ongoing communication, coordination, and partnerships with all of those involved in school safety efforts within a jurisdiction to ensure accountability and monitor both effectiveness and compliance with all applicable requirements, including privacy and civil rights laws.
  • Site and risk assessments that examine the overall safety, accessibility and emergency preparedness of school buildings and grounds and improve jurisdictions’ understanding of the likelihood of specific threats or hazards.
  • Coordinated emergency operations plans that are developed in partnership with first responders (law enforcement, fire officials, and emergency medical services personnel), mental health entities, and community partners.
  • Specific efforts, programs and policies designed to ensure positive school climates including the physical, social, and emotional elements that this entails.
  • Routine training and drills to ensure that plans are coordinated and effectively implemented.
  • Regular updating and review of planning efforts.
  • Jurisdictions should consider the following items before acquiring and deploying school safety technology:
    • A positive school climate is paramount for learning; technology should not create a punitive or prison-like atmosphere, rely on discriminatory stereotypes or violate student privacy, or generate additional fears or traumatize students who may already be living in an unsafe environment.
    • Technology cannot compensate for inherent building design weaknesses.
    • Without training, technology can prove ineffective.
    • Without the appropriate culture, technology can be circumvented.
    • Technology may evolve rapidly (and so does the software that may accompany it); consideration must be given to replacement, maintenance, and repair costs.
    • Long-term support for technology is a key factor.
    • Technology selection should focus on addressing a specified problem.

Note: Any school safety equipment and technology implementation should be compliant with all application codes, including building and life safety codes.

In addition, recipients must conduct comprehensive school safety assessments during the grant award period for all schools involved in the project. These assessments must inform the measures necessary to improve school safety and ensure a safe and positive learning environment for students free of discrimination and protective of student privacy.

The funder expects to award $73 million between 235 total grants with a maximum award amount of $500,000. This is a significant increase from last year when $53 million was awarded to 160 projects. Projects will have a 36-month project period.

Proposals have a two-part application process: due by May 10, 2023, and JustGrants by May 17, 2023.

What makes a project a good fit?

In addition to the required activities described above, the Department of Justice will take into consideration these factors:

  1. Presence of a catastrophic event in the jurisdiction;
  2. Geographic diversity, including urban, suburban, and rural; and
  3. Demonstrated need for improved school security and climate.

Priority consideration will be given to applicants who were not funded recently under the SVPP program as well as applicants proposing projects using Community Violence Intervention strategies to address high rates of gun violence, firearms seizures, and gun-related incidents on school grounds.

What if I am ready to apply? To move your project forward, take the following action steps as soon as possible:

  • Register and attend the STOP School Violence Program FY2023 Solicitation webinar on April 6, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. eastern time.
  • On the opportunity page, navigate to the package tab, select preview, and then download instructions for the full program solicitation. The RFP is available for download here;
  • View the COPS SVPP Program page for information on the opportunity as well as government and non-federal resources on strategies, recommendations, and assessments for school safety;
  • Navigate to the How to Apply page for resources such as process and tips for applying to the COPS Office Solicitation, JustGrants virtual training sessions, fact sheets, and application templates;
  • Make sure your System for Award Management (SAM) registration is active and be sure you have a and JustGrants profile. You can check your SAM status here:
  • Confirm your organization’s unique entity identifier (UEI). All agencies with existing SAM registration have been automatically assigned a UEI. New applicants will request a UEI as part of the SAM registration process. You can find more information about the UEI transition here.

What if I need help with this application?

Contact AGS today! Our team can help with all aspects of preparing the application and managing the grant if you are awarded. If you would like to discuss this possibility, please contact AGS as soon as possible. Julie Assel, CGMS, GPC, President/CEO, will be happy to talk with you about this opportunity and provide you with a quote for grant services.

What if I am not ready to apply this year?

Start preparing for next year! The COPS Office has a variety of other programs and funding opportunities available that might be a good fit. The office’s website has ample resources, descriptions of available or upcoming opportunities, and past awardee lists to help you prepare.

How do I learn more about federal grant proposal writing, so my application is more likely to be successful?

AGS is excited to offer a Federal Agency Training Series in 2023! The series is designed to provide insight into federal agencies beyond the typical reading of the solicitation by program officers and provide details you need to be successful. AGS also offers several on demand webinars on a variety of topics to support the full grant cycle. Check out our website to learn more and sign up for our training newsletter.

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