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COPS and STOP Federal Grants: Funding Your School Safety Initiatives Webinar Recap

As K-12 schools across the country grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we understand that grant writing may not be top of mind. But for school safety leaders, this funding presents a unique opportunity to invest in critical emergency communication technology for your school district. Applications for the COPS School Violence Prevention Program and the STOP School Violence Act grants have now been extended, giving your school an additional chance to apply for funding.

Rave Mobile Safety discussed how these federal grants function and your school can receive this critical funding in a recent webinar. During the hour-long panel, host Doug Bradberry, Solutions Architect at Rave Mobile Safety, spoke with John Nawrocki, a business development manager for Resource Associates, to provide an overview of STOP and COPS grants, discuss who is eligible to apply and the requirements, go over deadlines and available funding options, and identify school safety technology that qualifies for the grants. 

Related Blog: Education and Justice Departments Announce Latest Rounds of  School Safety Grants

The COPS School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP) 

Since this grant is programmatic in nature and focused on equipment and technology, awarders will be interested to see how the tool will be incorporated into a comprehensive school safety improvement plan. That means identifying needs, talking about purchases and activity, and have measurable outcomes as you write this grant application. 

  • Goal - Improve security at schools and on school grounds through evidence based school safety programs
  • Amount - Required 25% Cash Match/FY 2020 Funding will cover up to 75% approved awards, up to $500,000 / awards are 36-month period 
  • Deadline - April 29, 2020 at 7:59pm EST 
  • Requirements - School safety assessment (required in many states)/application assurance /independent assessment of respective award-funded projects 
  • Funding Options - Personnel, equipment, technology, supplies, travel/training

COPS is offering up to 150 grants and $500,000 over three years, which is more generous than usual and presents a great opportunity for school districts. 

BJA’s Stop School Violence Program 

This grant has four grants within two different streams - there are also two different eligibility requirements. The first two are set up for state agencies - such as state department of education, and those are up to $2 million. Local education agencies or non-profit agencies can apply for up to $750,000. It’s always important to show commitment by presenting matching funds, but it’s not a requirement for this application. 

  • Goal - Improve school security by providing students and teachers with the tools they need to recognize, respond quickly to, and help prevent acts of violence
  • Amount - State agencies awards of up to $2,000,000 each/school districts awards up to $750,000 each/awards are made over a series of years/awards are 35-month period
  • Eligibility - State, unit of local government or its public agencies, Indian tribes (Must benefit K-12 schools and students) police and sheriff’s departments, mental health service providers and health departments.
  • Requirements - Anti-bullying or mental health crisis training /threat assessment intervention teams and technology solutions
  • Funding Options - Personnel, technology, supplies, travel/training 

Be sure to identify which grants you are applying for and if you feel like your team has needs in two categories it is possible to submit two separate proposals. This grant also is programmatic in nature - application should be prepared in collaboration with school administration, law enforcement, mental health professionals, and other relevant professionals as part of a comprehensive safety plan. 

Key Differences Between COPS and STOP Grants

COPS Grants  

  • Emergency alerting technology  
  • Communication and identification technology 
  • Maps of schools and bus routes 
  • Social Media monitoring 
  • Laptops, printers, video surveillance tracking systems 
  • Project coordinators, managers or trainers 
  • Encrypted equipment, alarm and protection systems, metal detectors, locks, lighting, other physical security measures

STOP School Violence Program 

  • Emergency alerting technology 
  • Anonymous reporting technology 
  • Mobile applications, hotlines, and websites 
  • Development and operation of school threat assessment 
  • Training for mental health crises, anti-bullying and to prevent student violence against others and self 

Panic Button Overview & Eligibility 

This safety tool is eligible for the STOP grant, used as part of a comprehensive safety plan for school systems across the United States.

  • Instant incident notification to school personnel and PSAP 
  • Faster incident response, one-way solution notifies administrators, provides location data 
  • Stakeholder Collaboration and response 

The app is ready for any incident - rare activations, including emergencies such as an active assailant, occasional activations include medical emergencies on campus, or routine activations, which include internal communications. Staff Assist is a critical routine function that allows administrators to communicate non-emergency incidents to teachers. 

Related Blog: Why Every School Should Have A Panic Button App System

The Panic Button App can call 911 and send alerts simultaneously. The app can also instantly trigger compatible systems via common alerting protocol, including intercoms, digital signage, lights & sirens, or access control systems. By implementing this tool, administrators can be sure to increase K-12 student reporting, providing the community with text-a-tip anonymous technology to report issues and suspicious activity.

Questions & Answer Session 

Q: Can you talk more about the 25% payment, or fund matching, on awards for COPS grant? 

A: The match for this particular grant has to be actual money being spent on salaries or equipment to demonstrate that your team is already spending funds on school safety purchases. For this grant, it must be actual money spent - for example, if you ask for $100,000 for your community, grant application should show capability to fund $25,000, while the grant will pay for $75,000. 

Q: Once a community receives an award, what is the timeline for funding? 

Many delays are being caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but an award announcement is expected for September. Often, the community gets a letter with the award, but the organization will also ask questions requiring leaders to make further justifications. There are often budget adjustments and some back-and-forth negotiating that will go on. A realistic timeline would look like - if awards go out in September, funds will likely be distributed closer to November.

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Mary Kate McGrath
Mary Kate McGrath

Mary Kate is a content specialist and social media manager for the Rave Mobile Safety team. She writes about public safety for the state & local and education spheres.

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