Treasure Hunt.

Here at American COP we’re all too aware of how tight budgets are for the average law enforcement agency — that’s you in small town USA. While it would be nice to have gear right out of some cop TV show, those guys live in the world of make-believe. So what do you do if your agency can’t afford new or improved gear? Some of you will sit around and whine about how bad you’ve got it, while others will simply make do with whatever they can get, but a few will be proactive. Huh? What?

There’s a whole world of grant programs out there just waiting to be tapped into. All’s you have to do is a little research and follow an application process. Hell, even Jerry Boyd’s column (From The Chief) mentioned surplus military gear and excess property can be had through excess property programs and urban initiative grants, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Government grants are plentiful and so are grants from the private sector — you just have to know where to find ’em. A good place to start is an Internet search engine. Type in some important key words — grants, law enforcement — and voila, start narrowing the field.

Then again, you can reach out to a company such as EOTech and partake of their free grant assistance program. They’ve partnered with grant assistance firm Dynamic International to help you get your agency grant funding for EOTech related products. This is an excellent resource because it’s all about the process of grant writing that truly gets you the funding you need. You may be the most in need, but if you don’t follow the process exactly as prescribed, your request will get passed over. Dynamic International will give you step-by-step instruction through the process. What are you waiting for? For more info: www.eotech-inc.com/grant-assistance

SWAT, Admin & Crap

I continue to get comments from Roy’s editorial (“Staying The Course,” From The Publisher, Feb. 2014). Some of you have pointed out you believe we’ve become geared more towards SWAT and admin than staying true to patrol. Well, I beg to differ and here’s what I think you’re missing. Don’t confuse advertising with editorial. We devote one issue per year to all-things SWAT — and even in that issue you can take much of what we write about and apply it to patrol. Who ever said all the uber cool stuff was only appropriate for SWAT?

We don’t have any say in what picture an advertiser wants to use. Many of the companies advertising in our pages spend big bucks to have an advertising campaign created and those campaigns are run in a slew of publications viewed by the public sector — they really like seeing pictures of (SWAT) officers stacked up outside a door. You need to look beyond the picture in the ad and decide if the product it’s trying to sell is something for you. It’s as simple as that.

Are we selling out to the administration? Absolutely not! We have Jerry Boyd writing from the perspective of a chief, but if you’re actually reading his column you’ll clearly see he’s very much a cop’s cop. I’d want him as my cover officer any day. We don’t support all ideas “IACP,” in fact we usually poke ’em in the eye and try to get them to stop playing politics with law enforcement. Will we run pieces about concepts that may seem a bit odd? Sure! Why not?

One of the things we try to do is introduce other ways of thinking and doing things. Is a Gold Card Program “out there”? Yes, but what seems like a crazy idea to some (most?) is designed to stir debate and create dialogue. Saying you’re cancelling a subscription because you don’t agree with an idea puts you in the whiners and do-nothings category — and it’s cutting your nose off despite your face.

A few other people commented about ads and positive reviews for “junk” gear. As the saying goes, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” There’s a bit of a balancing act that goes on when testing products and writing about them. We’d all love to have the best products available, but many small agencies simply can’t afford “the best.” And that’s not to say other products aren’t good in comparison.

So, keeping in mind a wide variety of budgets, both agency and personal, we offer you plenty of options. I can also tell you this: if something is junk, we won’t waste the space on it. We’d rather use the space to write positively about the good products out there.