By Sarah Guy, Manager, Legislative and Media Affairs, IACP
unding levels for Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 have been set, marking the end of a very long negotiation period and the continual passage of short-term spending resolutions to keep the U.S. government operating. The U.S. Congress passed the $1.012 trillion FY 2014 omnibus spending package the week of January 13, 2014, ensuring funding for the U.S. government through September 30, 2014. The omnibus bill includes funding for all 12 of the annual appropriations bills and adheres to the spending cap set by the December budget deal (Pub. L. 113-67).
Overall, funding levels for assistance grants to state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies fared well in this “doom and gloom” economic climate.
The omnibus bill includes $27.4 billion in funds for the Department of Justice (DOJ), an increase of $337 million above the FY 2013 enacted level.1 Of that amount, state and local law enforcement programs will receive a total of $2.3 billion, $51 million more than the FY 2013 level. This total includes funding for the following:
- Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) will receive $214 million, including $180 million for COPS Hiring Grants to hire or retain officers. This marks a slight increase over FY 2013, which funded COPS at $210 million and provided $178.7 million for COPS Hiring Grants.
- Office of Violence Against Women will be allotted $417 million in funding for prevention and prosecution programs, the same level of funding that was established in FY 2013.
- The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne-JAG) will be funded at $376 million, a slight increase over last year’s funding level of $365 million.
The bill also provides funding in the amount of $75 million for the new Comprehensive School Safety Initiative under the DOJ. Through this initiative, $50 million in pilot grants will be made available to schools, in consultation with law enforcement and school mental health professionals, to test and evaluate technologies and strategies to improve school safety; develop and update school safety assessments and plans; provide technical assistance or training; and support and assess other programs and technologies that are intended to enhance overall school safety efforts. In addition, $25 million in pilot grants will be made available for research and evaluation to analyze the potential root causes of violence in schools.
Funding for the DOJ also includes $1 million to establish and support the operations of a nine-person, bipartisan, Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections to address challenges in the federal corrections system. The task force will be charged with developing practical, data-driven policy options to increase public safety, improve offender accountability, reduce recidivism, and control the growth of spending on corrections. As part of its work, the task force will examine overcrowding in Bureau of Prison facilities and options to avert continued growth in the system population; measures to address overcrowding within facilities; violence in the system, including gang violence, and improved public safety measures; prison rehabilitation and employment programs; and reentry programs and policies to reduce recidivism.
The FY 2014 omnibus funds the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) at $39.3 billion, a reduction of $336 million compared to the FY 2013 enacted level. This includes approximately $1.5 billion for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants, and equipment and training programs for state and local governmental entities, including $466 million for the State Homeland Security Grant Program, $600 million for the Urban Area Security Initiative, $100 million for public transportation and railroad security assistance, and $100 million for port security grants.
Now that agencies know their funding levels for FY 2014, it is expected that they will soon announce competitive grant solicitations. Many law enforcement agencies will apply for funding assistance to aid in the implementation and continuation of important programs and initiatives like the hiring of officers, forensic science improvements, offender reentry programs, school safety initiatives, and victims’ assistance. Law enforcement agencies seeking funds for programs should check http://www.grants.gov regularly for a listing of all newly posted competitive opportunities. ♦
1All figures and dollar amounts cited in this article are taken from Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014, Senate amend. H.R. 3547, 113th Cong., http://rules.house.gov/bill/113/hr-3547-sa (accessed January 17, 2014).
Please cite as:
Sarah Guy, “Fiscal Year 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Measure Includes Funds for DOJ, Law Enforcement Programs, and School Safety Measures,” Legislative Alert, The Police Chief 81 (February 2014): 8.