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Grants for Public Safety: A Comprehensive Guide

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You’re looking to add leading-edge, proven technologies as part of your comprehensive public safety strategy, including acoustic gunshot detection which addresses criminal gunfire. The challenge: it’s not in this year’s budget. What are your options? The good news is that there are more funding sources than ever for these types of public safety investments. SoundThinking – creators of ShotSpotter (the leading gunshot detection system) and the SafetySmart Platform – have helped scores of cities, counties, and other jurisdictions identify and successfully garner funding. This includes grants for public safety. In this blog, we’ll identify some of these sources and options for engaging our help for your specific situation.

Jurisdictional Options

Metaphorically, look between the sofa cushions!

Believe it or not, there are often substantial funds within your city or county that are worth exploring. Sometimes these are within the law enforcement budget and sometimes in different budgets altogether. For example, perhaps your police budget had space for twenty new recruits this year, but you’ve only hired twelve. That leftover money could be repurposed for public safety initiatives such as ShotSpotter. Further, you could explore leveraging funds that may come from asset forfeiture.

Asset forfeiture is the process by which the government confiscates money and/or property that may represent the proceeds of a crime or property used or involved in the commission of a crime.

Examples of asset forfeiture include but are not limited to:

  • Property that a wrongdoer would not have had but for a crime;
  • Cash acquired through an unlawful activity such as drug dealing;
  • A house where drug sales occur; and
  • A car bought with cash from drug dealing.
  • …among others.

We’ve worked with clients who have successfully accessed these types of funding sources.

Local Partnerships

Local or Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), can also be a promising funding option. In a PPP, a private organization in your community such as a hospital, university, or other business can provide funding for public safety projects.

What’s in it for them? Many of these private sector organizations have a vested interest in the safety of their neighborhoods. Toward that end, they’re often willing and eager to contribute a portion of their budgets to public safety technologies, either as part of their 501(c)(3) status, or as a general investment in the health and well-being of their employees, patients, students, and customers.

Some examples include:

  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • CSX Railroad
  • Local police foundations
  • Local casinos
  • Community and business foundations
  • Superintendents of school districts

State and Countywide Grant Funding Programs

In the last few years, a series of state-wide grant programs have come into existence through State Administering Agencies (SAAs). Every SAA goes by a different name, but the programs tend to be similar: the agencies work with the governor’s office to redirect unused ARPA or Byrne Justice Assistance Grant money to local projects, many of which are related to public safety.

We can help you identify SAAs in your area, proactively laying the groundwork to advocate for the use of state money for ShotSpotter, Resource Router, or other SafetySmart technologies.

Examples of State Administering Agencies (SAAs):

  • Fresno, CA Regional Department of Transportation
  • New York State DCJS Impact Grant
  • Ohio Violent Crime Reduction Program Grant
  • Tennessee Violent Crime Intervention Fund
  • Rural and Small Department Violent Crime Reduction Program (MO, IN)
  • NJ State ARPA funding
  • PA State ARPA funding

Check Out Our Webinar On How To Garner Grant Funding For Violence Prevention Efforts

Federal Funding Via Grants and Earmarks

 State and community resources can often cover a significant portion of your public safety funding needs, but if more money is still needed to fund your public safety technology initiatives, federal resources can sometimes help get you the rest of the way there.

In a typical year, federal agencies offer more than 1,000 federal grant programs, together providing over $400 billion in funding to public agencies, just like yours.




Some of this money gets distributed to state and local governments based on metrics like population, while other grants require the completion of an application to receive funding. We can help you find the grants that are the most appropriate for your circumstances.

Examples of Federal Grants Used to Fund ShotSpotter

  • ARPA Federal Funding
  • USDOJ Crime Gun Intelligence Center Grant
  • HUD- Emergency Safety and Security Grant
  • HUD CDBG – Community Development Block Grant Program
  • TIPS – USDOJ Technology Innovation for Public Safety Grant
  • PSN- US DOJ Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant
  • DHS Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) Program
  • SPI-US DOJ Strategies for Policing Innovation
  • PHCF-HUD Public Housing Capital Fund
  • Congressionally-directed funding

Mix and Match

Funding a large-scale public safety initiative can often require weaving together many sources of funding, all with different application processes, timelines of completion, and drawdown speed.

Some of the funding, like money from an unused police budget, can be available to you immediately.

Similarly, money from asset forfeiture, ARPA, and PPPs can all be available within days.

However, money coming from the state and federal level will often take months to become available.

Here are a couple examples of SoundThinking customers that has leveraged funding from a combination of sources to help finance public safety technology:

The City of Greenville, NC

Funding came from the following sources:

  • ECU (East Carolina University)
  • Superintendent of Schools
  • Greenville Housing Authority
  • a GPD budget match

The City of Bridgeport, CT

Funding came from the following sources:

  • Superintendent of schools
  • HUD CDBG (Community Development Block Grant Program)
  • HUD PHCF (Public Housing Capital Fund)

If garnering funding from these and other sources is important to you, perhaps we can help. Book a meeting so we can understand your specific situation and assess whether we’re a fit.

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A partial set of SoundThinking clients that have successfully garnered funding using these strategies:

  1. City of Jackson (TN) Police Department
  2. Nassau County (NY) Police Department
  3. Baltimore (MD) Police Department
  4. Worcester (MA) Police Department
  5. Newark (NJ) Police Department
  6. Las Vegas (NV) Police Department
  7. Pittsfield (MA) Police Department
  8. Newport News (VA) Police Department
  9. Atlantic City (NJ) Police Department
  10. Springfield (MA) Police Department
  11. Suffolk County (NY) Police Department
  12. Fresno (CA) Police Department
  13. Rochester (NY) Police Department (Rochester, NY)
  14. Youngstown (OH) Police Department
  15. East Cleveland (OH) Police Department
  16. Sikeston (MO) Department of Public Safety
  17. Hammond (IN) Police Department
  18. Erie (PA) Police Department
  19. Camden County (NJ) Police Department
  20. Paterson (NJ) Police Department
  21. Cleveland (OH) Division of Police
  22. Aurora (CO) Police Department
  23. Toledo (OH) Police Department
  24. Antioch (CA) Police Department
  25. Sparks (NV) Police Department
  26. Little Rock (AR) Police Department
  27. Newburgh (NY) Police Department
  28. Louis (M)) Police Department
  29. Bakersfield (CA) Police Department
  30. Lawrence (MA) Police Department
  31. Holyoke (MA) Police Department
  32. Boston (MA) Police Department
  33. City of Miami Gardens (FL) Police Department
  34. Memphis (TN) Police Department
  35. Wilmington (NC) Police Department
  36. New Haven (CT) PD
  37. New Bedford (MA) PD
Author Profile
Jack Pontious
Jack Pontious brings over 25 years of public safety sales, sales management, channel development and...Show More
Jack Pontious brings over 25 years of public safety sales, sales management, channel development and new business development experience to SoundThinking. Today, Pontious heads up the SoundThinking Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Regional sales team. Before joining SoundThinking, he served as Director of Government Sales at Xybernaut Corporation, Director of Sales at MFN, Inc. and was a Program Manager at Dell/EMC. Early on in his career, he was a co-founder and Vice President of an Internet Services Provider (ISP), specializing in the sales and integration of e-commerce and e-business applications, website development, hosting and dedicated internet connectivity services. Show Less

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