The use of mobile devices — including smartphones, tablets and smartwatches — is set to revolutionize the way public safety agencies operate. Mobile devices provide incredible utility for first responders in the field, from access to computer-aided dispatch (CAD) and department resources, to evidence collection and reporting. The advent of reliable mobile broadband and a robust application ecosystem means mobile devices are no longer a luxury reserved for large metropolitan details or specialized teams — they are core equipment for any agency looking to modernize its operations.

Despite the clear benefits of mobile technology for first responders in the field, many agencies still struggle to pay for basic mobility initiatives — let alone fund comprehensive, agency-wide technology programs. Budgets are tight. Staff members are spread thin. When additional funding does become available, it’s often funneled towards paying overtime costs, managing backlogs and replenishing essential supplies.

Fortunately, there is a wide variety of grant programs available to address budget gaps for first responder mobility initiatives. This includes funding opportunities from dozens of state and federal grant-making agencies — each of which has its own criteria, application process and deadline. In order to make the grant-seeking process easier, Samsung has partnered with Grants Office, LLC, a national grants intelligence firm with an 18-year track record of helping public entities secure funding for their technology-driven projects.

The Samsung Grants Support Program

Finding the right grants and making sure they fit with your vision of a technology-rich project can be challenging — especially for agencies who are new to the grant-seeking process. The Samsung Grants Support Program can help you find the best funders for any upcoming technology program, and it’s a free service provided by Samsung.

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Through your Samsung representative, you can access Grants Office grants development consultants to obtain a funding opportunity report — a comprehensive inventory of grant opportunities that fit with your project, as well as consultation to help you navigate the landscape of technology-friendly public safety grant funding.

Top Federal Grants Recommended for First Responders

To help get your next mobility project started, the Samsung Grants Support Program created a list of top federal grants currently available for technology purchases. These programs are just a sampling of opportunities that may be listed in your agency’s funding opportunity report.

  1. Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG): This grant provides funding to equip fire and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel with tools that will enhance operational efficiencies, foster interoperability and support community resilience. Many successful AFG projects include the purchase of mobile devices. What’s more, any software purchases or network connectivity pieces needed to help that hardware function are also eligible for funding. Individual awards may exceed $1,000,000 each. Applications are anticipated to be due in fall 2019.
  2. Technology Innovation for Public Safety (TIPS): This grant supports unique and inventive technology solutions to bolster information-sharing between crime-fighting agencies. Awarded projects leverage hardware and software to improve communication both within your department and with outside partner agencies. Individual awards may be up to $500,000 each. Applications are anticipated to be due in spring 2020.
  3. Improving Criminal Justice Responses (ICJR): This grant provides funding for criminal justice agencies to work collaboratively in order to identify problems and share ideas that will reduce instances of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking in their communities. Awarded projects purchase hardware and software that will increase their ability to effectively respond to crime and promote collaboration. Individual awards may be up to $500,000 each. Applications are anticipated to be due in spring 2020.
  4. State Homeland Security Grant (SHSP): This grant provides funding to improve a community’s availability to prevent, mitigate and recover from acts of terrorism. Many awarded SHSP projects use funding for communications equipment between all types of first responder agencies — including law enforcement, fire, EMS, hazard mitigation teams and more. Individual award sizes and application deadlines are determined by each state. Contact your state’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) administrator for more information.

Whether you’re looking for funding to start, expand or completely reimagine a mobility program in your agency, these grant programs offer a strong starting point.

Additional Resources for Grant Seekers

For additional context and tips to improve your next grant proposal, the Samsung Grant Support Program also hosted two free webinars. Our team of funding and technology experts reviewed the latest trends and best practices in grant funding for mobility solutions. Free recordings of these events are available on the Grants Office webcasts page.

  1. Are You FirstNet Ready? Grant Funding for Devices, Connectivity, and Deployment on the AT&T Network. On this webcast, you’ll hear from Todd Maxwell, senior manager at Samsung; TJ Kennedy, former president of FirstNet; and Ashley Schultz, consultant at Grants Office LLC.
  2. The Mobile First Responder, Grant Funding for Devices on the Verizon Network. On this webcast, you’ll hear from Travis Hudson, senior manager at Samsung; Shomari Williams, managing partner at Verizon; and Ashley Schultz, consultant at Grants Office LLC.

Most grants are due in the fall and spring months each year, so now is a great time to learn about available funding and create a plan with your team for grant-seeking in 2020 and beyond!

Discover how the wearables you could fund with an approved technology grant can enhance response capabilities in this free white paper. Or, download our free white paper on how to plan and execute a successful mobile initiative for your law enforcement agency.

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Ashley Schultz

Ashley Schultz is a Senior Grants Development Consultant for Grants Office LLC and manages the public safety vertical. In that role, she supports teams in their pursuit of funding for police, fire, EMS, homeland security, and emergency preparedness projects. Ashley’s experience includes both applying for and administering multi-million dollar projects from federal, state, and foundation funders.

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