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Communications Technologies Research and Evaluation for Law Enforcement and Corrections Applications

Grants to USA Nonprofits, For-Profits, Agencies, and IHEs,
to Research the Use of Technology in Law Enforcement

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Funding Source:

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U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), National Institute of Justice (NIJ)

Deadline Date:

04/23/18 11:59 PM ET


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Grants to USA and territories nonprofits, for-profits, government agencies, IHEs, and certain qualified individuals to research and evaluate the use of technology in law enforcement. Applicants are advised to create or verify the required registrations well in advance of the proposal deadline. This solicitation supports the priorities of reducing crime, protecting officers and other public safety personnel, and reducing victimization.

Program Description

With this solicitation, NIJ seeks proposals for communications technologies research and evaluation projects: (1) to develop practical knowledge to inform the deployment of mobile broadband communications technologies by law enforcement agencies in the United States; or (2) to identify feasible technology solutions to combat the use of contraband wireless devices in correctional facilities.

Program-Specific Information:

NIJ’s Communications Technologies Research and Evaluation for Law Enforcement and Corrections Applications solicitation seeks proposals in two categories:

Category 1: Developing Information to Guide Law Enforcement Agencies’ Deployment of Broadband Communications Technologies (Competition ID: NIJ-2018-14046)

Increased access to mobile broadband services is vital to law enforcement and other public safety responders. In offering the ability to access and share large amounts of data, including video, in a timely fashion, mobile broadband services offer the potential for greater efficiencies and new capabilities in response to critical incidents (such as public mass shootings) and the management of major events, as well as in day-to-day law enforcement operations.

The NIJ-commissioned report Using Future Broadband Communications Technologies to Strengthen Law Enforcement envisioned a future broadband network where law enforcement users will communicate seamlessly and securely from any location, at any point in time, and under any scenario. The mobile devices used by officers would be able to access multiple types of communications links. This network would provide the ability to manage law enforcement resources dynamically in response to changing operational needs. The report also noted the danger of information overload inherent in the volume of data this network would provide access to, and the need to manage and curate information accordingly.

Over the next two decades, law enforcement agencies across the United States will expand their utilization of broadband communications networks and services. Agencies may implement their own networks or receive network services provided by, for example, FirstNet (the First Responder Network Authority), commercial wireless carriers, or municipal networks. The capabilities of these networks will evolve over time as technology advances, such as the emergence of 5G.

With this solicitation, NIJ seeks proposals for research and evaluation projects to identify state and local agencies leading in the deployment of broadband technology and to study their deployments. Those studies should document agencies’ conceptual and existing network architectures, evaluate fielded operational deployments using a variety of appropriate experimental methods, and synthesize the results into a guidance document to inform deployment of broadband technologies by other agencies across the United States.

Proposed studies should consider law enforcement use cases, such as traffic stops, various calls for service, active shooter events, large critical events, among others — as well as the kinds of data utilized during the course of law enforcement operations. Among other salient points, these studies should consider the approaches used to filter, prioritize, and analyze the data sent over this network. Communications and data-generating technologies, various network topologies, agency policies, and human factors are all variables that should be considered.

Category 2: Combating the Use of Contraband Wireless Devices in Correctional Facilities (Competition ID: NIJ-2018-14047)

In the recently published Promoting Technological Solutions to Combat Contraband Wireless Device Use in Correctional Facilities, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) notes that, “The use of contraband wireless devices in correctional facilities to engage in criminal activity poses a significant and growing security challenge to correctional facility administrators, law enforcement authorities, and the general public.” That report also discusses streamlining the process for approval of contraband interdiction systems (CIS), such as managed access systems (MAS), among other potential responses to this challenge.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has examined MAS deployments at state and local correctional facilities and conducted a proof-of-concept to determine MAS efficacy in a medium- security BOP facility. In December 2015, the BOP issued a Request for Information for an active or passive communications blackout solution within a defined secure prison perimeter. In evaluating the responses across the various locales of BOP facilities (rural, suburban, and metropolitan), BOP found that cost estimates ranged from $1 million to $2 million per correctional facility. Based on BOP’s assessment, the U.S. Department of Justice is concerned that MAS and other CIS technologies may be prohibitively expensive, particularly in those locations where only one provider is available and market competition cannot assist in driving down costs.

With this solicitation, NIJ seeks proposals to identify and evaluate technological solutions that could provide a feasible (to include considerations of cost) means for combatting contraband wireless device use in correctional facilities. NIJ will entertain applications proposing active, passive, and hybrid solutions. The applicant should consider corrections use cases, including the regulatory environment within which the solution would operate. The applicant’s proposal should specifically address the statutes and regulations, if any, that may affect the operation of the proposed solution and its potential impacts on authorized or legal wireless device use. Various technologies, correctional institution architectural features, agency policies, and human factors are all variables that should be considered in potential evaluations. The proposal should explain the regulatory relief, if any, that would be required to evaluate the solutions. Knowledge gained from an evaluation should be applicable to sites other than the one(s) being evaluated.

Any proposed evaluation of MAS must address the cost concern arising out of the BOP’s assessment. In addition to proposals for evaluation, NIJ will also consider applications that propose to perform economic analyses of MAS to determine whether this technology can be a viable, cost-effective option for state and local correctional facilities. This may involve technical and operational analysis to determine cost drivers. As MAS is a known technology, any proposed evaluations should build on already extant literature on the subject and not repeat what has previously been accomplished.

Additional Guidance:
-NIJ encourages researchers to seek guidance from, or collaborate with, law enforcement or corrections agencies, as appropriate. Such associations foster a greater understanding of the issues unique to law enforcement and corrections, and may strengthen the scope of the proposed research plan. Further, NIJ anticipates that applicants will have, at a minimum, letters of support from the collaborating law enforcement agencies or corrections agencies, as appropriate.
-Each partnering agency/organization must provide a letter of commitment clarifying information, staff, and other resource access.
-Each research team member (staff, contractor, consultant, agency partner, etc.) must be identified with a clearly specified role and projected level of effort, regardless of compensation.
-Any potential conflict of interest must be addressed if any research team member may benefit financially from, or is/was involved in the development of what is being researched.
-The research proposed must result in knowledge and tools that have potential value to other jurisdictions for a national impact.

Randomized Control Trials (RCT):

NIJ strongly encourages randomized controlled trials (RCT) where feasible and appropriate. RCT studies are a powerful, much needed tool for building scientific evidence about what works. Therefore, studies employing RCT methods to assess the effectiveness of programs and practices will be given higher priority consideration in award decisions. RCT applications with strong designs measuring outcomes of self-evident policy importance are strongly encouraged. A strong RCT design should include low sample attrition, sufficient sample size, close adherence to random assignment, valid outcome measures, and statistical analyses. Taking RCT costs into consideration, applicants may want to consider studies using privacy-protected administrative data that are already being collected or implementing an intervention into a program already funded.

New Investigator/Early Career Opportunity:

NIJ is interested in supporting researchers who are early in their careers and new to NIJ’s research grant portfolios, specifically non-tenured assistant professors, or equivalent full-time staff scientist positions in a research institution, who propose research on topics relevant to NIJ’s Office of Research and Evaluation (ORE) and/or Office of Science and Technology (OST). Applications that include a principal investigator (PI) who meets the criteria may, in appropriate circumstances, be given special consideration in award decisions.

At the time of application submission, the proposed PI must:
-Hold a non-tenured assistant professor appointment at an accredited institution of higher education in the United States or an equivalent full-time staff scientist position at a research institution.
-Have completed a terminal degree or post-graduate clinical training within the ten (10) years prior to September 30, 2018.
-Never have received NIJ funding as a PI on a research project with the exception of Graduate Research Fellows or Data Resources Program grantees.

Note that NIJ grant awards are made to the applicant institution and do not transfer with the proposed PI to other institutions; the institution that applies for the award should be the institution that will manage the award for the duration of the project period. The applicant should identify that this is a New Investigator/Early Career proposal on the title page of the application.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 183184

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

NIJ expects to make at least one award in each application area.

Term of Contract:

To allow time for (among other things) any necessary post-award review and financial clearance by OJP of the proposed budget and for any associated responses or other action(s) that may be required of the recipient, applicants should propose an award start date of January 1, 2019.

Awards will normally not exceed a three-year period of performance.


  • City or township governments
  • County governments
  • For profit organizations other than small businesses
  • Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
  • Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • Private institutions of higher education
  • Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
  • See RFP and/or Grant Guidelines for full eligibility
  • Single entities
  • Special district governments
  • State governments

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

In general, NIJ is authorized to make grants to, or enter into contracts or cooperative agreements with, States (including territories), units of local government, federally recognized Indian tribal governments that perform law enforcement functions (as determined by the Secretary of the Interior), nonprofit and for-profit organizations (including tribal nonprofit and for-profit organizations), institutions of higher education (including tribal institutions of higher education), and certain qualified individuals.

Foreign governments, foreign organizations, and foreign colleges and universities are not eligible to apply. Federal agencies are eligible to apply. (Any award made to a federal agency will be made as an inter-agency reimbursable agreement.)

All recipients and subrecipients (including any for-profit organization) must forgo any profit or management fee.

NIJ welcomes applications under which two or more entities would carry out the federal award; however, only one entity may be the applicant. Any others must be proposed as subrecipients (subgrantees). The applicant must be the entity that would have primary responsibility for carrying out the award, including administering funding, managing the entire project, and monitoring and appropriately managing any subawards (“subgrants”).

Under this solicitation, any particular applicant entity may submit more than one application, as long as each application proposes a different project in response to the solicitation. Also, an entity may be proposed as a subrecipient (subgrantee) in more than one application.

What will not be funded:
-Applications primarily to purchase equipment, materials, or supplies. (A budget may include these items if they are necessary to conduct research, development, demonstration, evaluation, or analysis.)
-Applications that are not responsive to this specific solicitation.

Pre-Application Information:

Applicants must register with prior to submitting an application.

Applicants must acquire a unique entity identifier (currently, a DUNS number). A DUNS number is usually received within 1-2 business days.

Applicants must acquire or maintain registration with SAM. Each applicant must update or renew its SAM registration at least annually to maintain an active status. SAM registration and renewal can take as long as 10 business days to complete (2 more weeks to acquire an EIN).

An application cannot be successfully submitted in until receives the SAM registration information. Once the SAM registration/renewal is complete, the information transfer from SAM to can take as long as 48 hours. OJP recommends that the applicant register or renew registration with SAM as early as possible.

All applications are due by 11:59 PM eastern time on April 23, 2018.

To be considered timely, an application must be submitted by the application deadline using, and the applicant must have received a validation message from that indicates successful and timely submission.

OJP urges applicants to submit applications at least 72 hours prior to the application due date, to allow time for the applicant to receive validation messages or rejection notifications from, and to correct in a timely fashion any problems that may have caused a rejection notification.

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Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

For assistance with any other requirements of this solicitation, contact the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) Response Center:

Toll-free: 1-800-851-3420
TTY: 301-240-6310
Fax: 301-240-5830
Web Chat:

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Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

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