POLICE Magazine Supplements

Special Report 2016

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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S p e c i a l R e p o r t : L a w E n f o r c e m e n t S o f t w a r e 5 demonstration of the soware you want to purchase, if you haven't already. en you can formally submit your needs to the leadership. But that doesn't mean you will necessarily get the funding to purchase the soware. Keep in mind that if there is money set aside for your pur- chase in the budget, you cannot seek a grant to fund it. But if you hope to secure a grant to pay for your new soware pur- chase, you'll have to jump through an additional set of hoops. And you need to have all of your ducks in a row before you can seek out grant funding. Getting Grants "Typically, grants are designed to solve problems. ey're fund- ing set aside to solve a problem in a community," says Asimor of Dynamic International. His company specializes in grant coaching and grant strategies to help end users tap into federal, state, and private dollars. To secure a grant you need to be able to show in a compelling way that the solution you seek funding for will save time, save money, reduce liability, or save lives, he says. e best way to do this is to make sure the per- son who will benefit the most and best understands the needs the solution must meet is deeply involved in the grant writing process. If you're looking to purchase investigative soware, for example, the person who runs the investigative division should spearhead the effort if at all possible. If you have access to a grant writer at your law enforcement agency or one employed by your city or state, this is a great re- source. Just make sure that everything doesn't get shoved on this person. It needs to be a partnership, and the interested of- ficer needs to stay in the loop throughout the grant writing pro- cess at the very least. Asimor stresses, "If it's your division that will save time or money with this solution, then you have to be involved for it to be successful." e ideal time to start looking for funding is once you've been given approval, Asimor says. "Once they have those groups or individuals on their side, and they feel it's not only an important issue but it's a realistic issue to be funded, that usually is the go ahead where they're able to start working on locating the grants that would be available," says Asimor. You'll have to do your homework. And that includes doing Google searches for the types of grants that you might qualify for. ere are government grant sites out there, but Asimor cau- tions that they are oen outdated and won't include every grant available, so it's important to expand your research. You'll likely need to spend extra hours searching and expanding your ILLUSTRATIONS: ISTOCK.COM SOFTWARE lutions have they found? Is there a soware solution they can point you to that meets your needs? To help with this process, preliminary research could include internet searches, attending trade shows, perusing catalogs and law enforcement publications, speaking with manufacturers or distributors, and even sitting through product demonstrations. When making the decision to purchase any soware for your agency, part of your research should include asking some basic questions that will help you narrow down the field. (See "What to Consider When Buying Law Enforcement Soware," page 6). Pricing is of course a huge consideration. Make sure to consider how many people will be using the solution and for how long. It used to be that an agency would get an enterprise solution with a one-time purchase for everyone and everything. But with ongoing subscription-based services and soware sold based on the number of licenses, pricing out a soware solution is more complicated. Find out what determines the price for a particular solution. Is it per seat or per user or per processor? P solution. Is it per seat or per user or per processor? Per Seat is determined by how many seats at your depa Seat is determined by how many seats at your depart- ment will be using the soware at any given time. ment will be using the soware at any given time. Per concurrent user is based on a set number of users t concurrent user is based on a set number of users that can access the soware at one time. Per processor can access the soware at one time. Per processor is calculated by how many machines the soware will calculated by how many machines the soware will be running on. Choose a solution that works for your agency's needs. And make sure you're clear on all that the price will include. "What I see typically nowadays is manufac- turers sell their technology, but they sell it for a period of time, like a two-year or three-year package, and it's all inclusive. e price might be x, but x will cover the technology and three years of service," explains Michael B. Asimor of Dynamic Interna- tional. "ey should have a good idea of how many licenses they want and for what duration. ey have to have a good un- derstanding of that up front." From here, it's a good idea to put together a project demon- strating your need and the details of the solution you propose. You can then present your project to any groups you'll need to convince to purchase the soware. e necessary approvals generally come from city councils, county or regional boards, state administrators for a state-level purchase, and of course leadership at your department. is presentation is a way to put the project on the radar for funding. Possibilities include leover budget funding, leover grant funding, asset forfeiture (if allowable by the federal gov- ernment), targeting future grant funding, and targeting future budget. Once you get approval to move forward, you should get a

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