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Back to Archives | Back to January 2007 Contents 

Free Resources for Smaller Agencies

By Paul D. Schultz

Chief of Police, Lafayette, Colorado

ree resources for smaller police departments can be force multipliers. They can improve officer safety and effectiveness, improve the level of service provided to the community, and reduce liability. What’s more, they can make their communities safer.

Where should a chief look for free and reduced-cost resources? Here are a few suggestions.

The Private Sector

Almost every Fortune 500 corporation makes grants. A letter to the company’s corporate headquarters is usually all it takes to get the company’s requirements for a grant request. A police chief should send an inquiry to every national company that has a presence in his or her jurisdiction, as companies are likelier to award grants to local applicants.

National companies that do not have a local presence may also be a source of grants. When writing to one of these companies, a chief should emphasize that people in his or her jurisdiction support the company and may even be its customers.

Chiefs should not limit their targets to major corporations. Local businesses could be eager for an opportunity to support a local public safety agency with in-kind donations. Of course, politically astute police chiefs will allow elected officials to pursue in-kind donations from local businesses on their behalf.

The Public Sector

State and federal grants can be critical to supporting or sustaining a police agency budget. Even though the Justice Assistance Grants (JAG) have been reduced in recent years, there are still resources available for state traffic enforcement projects and federal counterterrorism efforts.

There are many success stories of smaller agencies receiving resources in both areas. Smaller police departments can often increase their staffing by up to the equivalent of one full-time employee by obtaining successive state traffic grants. Various counterterrorism grant programs can be found at the Department of Homeland Security Web site at and are too numerous to list here.

The federal government operates what are known as the 1033 and 1122 programs. The 1033 program allows police departments to obtain free military surplus items, and the 1122 program allows police departments to obtain equipment at the federal government’s cost. Many smaller agencies take advantage of the 1033 program, but the 1122 program is not as well known. On average, a police department can save several hundred dollars on each patrol car by purchasing vehicles through the 1122 program. All required information on both the 1033 and 1122 programs can be found on the Internet. See for details.

The National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) provides free resources for technology reviews, training, and technical assistance to local police. NLECTC training that serves local law enforcement agencies is designed by regions. Details can be found at

The National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources offers low-cost items that industry has donated to this entity. Entire youth programs can be funded by partnering with this group. They can be reached at

For free narcotics investigative equipment, check out the technology transfer program administered by the U.S. Army Electronic Proving Ground at

Sources for Free Training

Federal law enforcement agencies are often an overlooked source of free training. All federal law enforcement agencies provide excellent free training to local law enforcement on a variety of topics. Most are just waiting for a request to assist local law enforcement.

The IACP will cohost training with smaller police departments and allow the cohosting police agency a certain number of free training slots based on the program’s overall attendance. Visit the training section of the IACP Web site,, for details.

For one kind of free training in particular, counterterrorism training, try these sources:

COBRA Training Center

Louisiana State University

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

U.S. Department of Energy

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Other organizations that offer free or low-cost assistance to small police departments include the following:

COPS Office Regional Community Policing Institutes

Institute for Intergovernmental Research Regional Information Sharing Systems

IACP Smaller Agency Technical Assistance Program

Rural Law Enforcement Technology Center

National Center for Rural Law Enforcement

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

Call the IACP Smaller Agency Technical Assistance Program at 800-THE-IACP, extenstion 262, for additional ideas. Remember, in the era of doing more with less, it is critical that smaller police departments take full advantage of free and reduced-cost resources.


From The Police Chief, vol. 74, no. 1, January 2007. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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