The Stimulus: Take the Steps to Get Your Share
Campus protection professionals who are creative, tap into training and construction grants, and have good working relationships with executive administrators and external stakeholders will be more successful in getting their projects funded.
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Even with traditional security grants from COPS and UASI, grant writers are extremely helpful.
MaryAnn Northcote, director of safety and security for the Henry Ford Macomb Hospital, was able to have grant specialists from the philanthropy department of her corporate office write a UASI grant application for her.
“They write medical grants all of the time and get funding from all kinds of places,” she says. “They requested all kinds of information about my hospital, put it together, sent it in and got us the money.”
Despite the success she and her hospital have had with UASI over the past three years, so far she has not uncovered a stimulus grant that would apply to her department.
Don’t Go It Alone When Applying
It can be a challenge to learn about the available grants and how they can be applied to fund a project. In Northcote’s case, she was able to find the information she needed on the Internet.
But with many campuses, regardless of whether or not a department is going after traditional security grants or stimulus funds, those departments that don’t partner with other internal and external campus stakeholders may find that they don’t have access to critical information about new opportunities.
“Building and sustaining local collaboratives is very important,” says Safe Havens International Senior Analyst Russell Bentley. “Those collaboratives need to cross the spectrum of education, public safety, mental health and other grass roots agencies in the community.”
According to Simmons, that coordination should also occur at the state and county levels. He again refers to the success of the Pueblo County schools.
“They’ve created a funding ecology where they realize that in order for them to get what they want, they’ll probably have to piece it together from several different sources,” he says.
The state of Colorado goes even further by providing a school safety resource center that supplies assistance when school districts want to apply for grants. But most important is the buy-in from campus leadership. Their support — or lack of support — can make or break a safety, security or emergency management program.
This is true even after a public safety department wins a grant, especially if the campus is required to match a certain percentage of it. In Northcote’s case, she enlisted the help of her organization’s director of police authority (Nick Radu) who worked with the COO to obtain the matching funds.
Have Your Data, MOUs Ready
But long before a campus applies for a grant, it needs to be prepared. “When grants become available, districts often don’t have the current data that would support their need for the resources,” says Bennett. “They haven’t completed surveys or threat assessments that would provide the necessary data to show need. Often, when grants become available, the turnaround time is very short. Gathering that information in such a short period of time — if it’s not kept current — puts districts at a disadvantage.”
This applies to other areas besides safety and security. For example, campuses and districts that want to tap into ARRA modernization funds should prepare by conducting an energy audit.
National Incident Management System (NIMS) compliance is also normally a requirement for grants and assistance from the Departments of Homeland Security, Education, Justice, and Health and Human Services. Having memoranda of understanding (MOUs) in place with local partners is another important requirement.
Don’t Give Up
Looking forward, much of the stimulus has yet to be released. As this article goes to press, $1 billion in competitive grants for the construction of biomedical and behavioral research facilities are pending, as are many others.
With regard to the overall amount of money campuses will have to spend on safety and security this year, the estimates vary campus by campus. More than 29 percent of survey respondents say they will have more to spend and more than 37 percent will have the same amount as in 2009, while a third (33 percent) will have less (see chart above).
When broken down by campus type, K-12 campuses appear to have the greatest challenges. More than half say that they will have less money to spend on safety and security than last year.
The outlook for universities and hospitals isn’t nearly as bad. Nearly three out of four universities (70.4 percent) and hospitals (74.5 percent) say they will have the same or more money than in 2009.
“Don’t give up,” says Cales. “A lot of smaller institutions are really frustrated, but the money is fl owing, and it’s going to continue to flow.”
Robin Hattersley Gray is executive editor of Campus Safety. She can be reached at [email protected] or (310) 533-2534.
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