OFFICE OF COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING SERVICES
The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) was created with the passage of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 to assist law enforcement agencies in enhancing public safety through the implementation of community policing strategies. The COPS Office develops innovative programs that respond directly to the emerging needs of state, local, and tribal law enforcement, to shift law enforcement’s focus to preventing, rather than reacting to, crime and disorder; develops state-of-the-art training and technical assistance to enhance law enforcement officers’ problem-solving and community interaction skills; promotes collaboration between law enforcement and community members to develop innovative initiatives to prevent crime; and provides responsive, cost-effective service delivery to grantees to ensure success in advancing community policing strategies within their communities.
The primary activity of the COPS Office is the awarding of competitive, discretionary grants directly to law enforcement agencies across the United States and its territories. The programs and initiatives developed by the COPS Office have provided almost $9 billion in funding to more than 13,000 law enforcement agencies. By funding over 13,000 of the nation’s 18,000 law enforcement agencies, the COPS Office has helped create a community policing infrastructure across the nation. Approximately 86 percent of the nation’s population is served by law enforcement agencies practicing community policing.
The COPS Office is headed by a Director appointed by the Attorney General, and is organized into nine divisions. The major functions of each division are:
Grant Administration Division (GAD)
- GAD is responsible for the design and development of hiring, redeployment, and innovative grants programs to further the adoption and implementation of community policing. Reviews grant applications and makes awards to applicants.
Training and Technical Assistance (TTA) Division
- The TTA Division helps create change in the police profession and in the communities it serves by providing the training and technical assistance necessary to assist agencies, officers, and communities to implement and sustain community policing. Through cooperative agreements with a national network of Regional Community Policing Institutes, the Community Policing Consortium, targeted training initiatives, and training conferences and workshops, the TTA division creates and encourages problem-solving partnerships between law enforcement, educational institutions, business groups, and community groups to provide a broad spectrum of innovative and specialized training.
- The Administrative Division provides support services to the COPS Office, including human resource management to recruit, train, and maintain a professional workforce; fiscal resource management to perform the accounting necessary to review grant funding requests; facilities management to acquire and maintain space, provide security, and procure supplies, equipment, telephones, and other services; and information technology resource management to develop, maintain, and enhance information systems.
- The Legal Division, headed by the General Counsel, provides legal advice to the Director and other functional areas of the COPS Office to ensure compliance with the legal requirements applicable to the activities of the COPS Office. The Division works directly with COPS grantees to ensure compliance with COPS grant requirements and to address compliance issues arising from complaints, audits, and monitoring site visits.
External Affairs Division
- The External Affairs Division facilitates dissemination of information about COPS programs and activities to the Congress, and provides input to policy formulation and program design and development. Additionally, the Division provides current information about community policing and COPS programs to grantees, the public, and the media, and ensures timely and accurate responses to media inquiries, interviews, and public events. The division also maintains channels for communication and feedback regarding COPS programs with representatives of interested local, state, and national organizations and with local and state law enforcement and elected officials.
- The Communications Division provides current information about community policing and COPS programs to grantees and the public and ensures the timely production of COPS publications and related materials. The Division ensures that publications are available in a variety of formats, including via the Internet, CD, and written publications.
Program/Policy Support and Evaluation Division (PPSE)
- PPSE engages in program design, provides policy support and assessment activities, and disseminates information on community policing activities for the COPS Office. This is achieved through programmatic assessments and evaluations of community policing, developing and maintaining databases to support policymaking, and participating in the evaluation of the various grant programs.
Grant Monitoring Division (GMD)
- GMD conducts on-site visits and office-based grant reviews to ensure that grantees are meeting their programmatic commitments and obligations, to determine if grantees require any special assistance from COPS, and to gather information about effective community policing strategies and practices.
- The Audit Division works together with the Office of the Comptroller and the Office of the Inspector General to ensure grantee compliance with their programmatic and financial requirements. Assists grantees in resolving audit issues.
COPS Response Center
- The Response Center assists the public and the criminal justice community by answering inquiries about available grant programs, funding opportunities, and legislative initiatives as they relate to COPS.
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