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 we meet our mission to “Advance Public Safety through Community Policing.”
The COPS Office awards 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 over $16 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. COPS also partners with law enforcement experts and the academic community to develop and produce information products that highlight ongoing and new law enforcement issues and/or successful community policing strategies used by law enforcement departments throughout the country in response to commonly shared crime and disorder problems. The COPS Office has distributed more than 2 million topic-specific publications, training curricula, white papers, and resource CDs through the COPS Office Response Center and another 2 million copies have been downloaded from the website.
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:
Grants Administration Division (GAD)
- The GAD is responsible for the development and implementation of grant programs to support public safety through the hiring of officers, and by addressing school security and tribal issues, child sexual predators and methamphetamine. All of these innovative grants programs to local law enforcement further the adoption and implementation of community policing. The GAD also provides outreach and customer service to current COPS grants for the duration of their life cycle.
Grants Monitoring Division (GMD)
- The 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.
Audit Liaison Division
- The Audit Liaison 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. The division assists grantees in resolving audit recommendations.
Research and Development Division (R&D)
- The Research and Development Division provides subject matter expertise and internal policy and program analytical support by assisting in the design and analysis of COPS Office programs and strategies. The division also conducts and oversees evaluations of U.S. Department of Justice initiatives, manages innovative community policing pilot programs and applied research projects, produces dozens of products and publications annually for use by police practitioners and others, and disseminates community policing knowledge through external presentations and support to the field.
Partnerships and Technical Assistance (PTA) Division
- The PTA Division helps create change in the police profession and in the communities it serves by developing and sustaining partnerships between law enforcement and key constituents; developing curriculum and delivering training to law enforcement and the community; providing technical assistance to law enforcement agencies; and producing products and resources. Partnerships between law enforcement, educational institutions, the private sector, community groups, and other government agencies provide the framework for the development of specialized training, innovative ways of providing technical assistance, and the opportunity to introduce new audiences to the importance of continuing to emphasize community policing.
Customer Information and Support (CIS) Division
- The CIS Division provides current information about community policing and COPS programs to grantees and the public. It is responsible for customer relationship management, developing processes and procedures to collect and analyze customer feedback, and using this information to provide recommendations on improving COPS programs, products, and services. This division plays a key role in implementing COPS Office outreach strategies. The CIS Division also provides management and oversight of the COPS external website and the COPS Response Center.
- The Administration 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.
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.
Policy and Project Management (PPM) Division
- The PPM division provides leadership and management services to the COPS Office for strategic planning and performance measurement, enterprise-wide project management, records management, and office-wide policy management.