Billion Dollar COPS Technology Grant Program Dies

Author: IPVM Team, Published on Aug 01, 2013

Grants seem to power almost every public surveillance system deployed in the past decade. Need a hundred thousand? No problem. Get a government grant. But now one of the most well-known programs is over. We talked to the U.S. Department of Justice about what happened to the COPS Technology Grant program and other grants being used to fund surveillance in its absence.

Funding Gone

The last grants for the the U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) technology program have been cleared and the program is officially over, at least until a lawmaker decides it is worth funding again.

The program, provided more than $2.8 billion in grants, to more than 1,400 agencies to upgrade their technology since around 2001. “This was one of our stronger programs and it covered a broad range of requests,” says COPS spokesman Corey Ray.

The Numbers

According to data provided by the Department of Justice to IPVM, the technology program consistently received millions more dollars than any other COPS offering. At its peak in 2008, it disbursed more than $205 million to law enforcement agencies for technology. By 2011, the amount would drop to around $1 million then disappear completely. The last awards went out at the end of 2011, most of the money has been spent, and the agencies have been audited to make sure it was spent appropriately.

Funding for the program was up and down, but averaged around ~$145 million annually until 2008, according to Justice Department documents. Funding peaked in 2008, and it was downhill from there. 

  • $205 million in 2008
  • $187 million in 2009 
  • $170 million in 2010
  • $1.2 million in 2011
  • None for 2012-2013

Before 2000, the COPS program was most known for funding law enforcement agencies to hire new personnel and that had been the program's main focus. It also provides a grant for Native American tribes to hire officers and purchase technology and a grant for police training.

After 2000, agencies were adequately staffed, but communications and technology equipment was lacking. The money the agencies were spending on technology rapidly increased. The COPS technology grant was earmarked into legislation to help agencies catch up.

“Agencies were using it for anything from interoperability to simple equipment a police officer would have in his car,” Ray said.

As the grant gained popularity, agencies began setting their sights on more advanced technology like surveillance systems, ShotSpotter and license plate recognition, Ray says. Below is a video produced by a Maryland town on surveillance technology purchased with a COPS Technology Grant:

But the end of earmarks was the end of the program.

Funding for COPS grants to hire and train officers is ongoing, but funding for technology grants were earmarked so “that money disappeared. And no lawmakers have tried to reintroduce it or get it funded,” Ray said. “We haven’t seen that revenue come back. Law enforcement agencies are always interested in hiring new personnel, but now at the same time there is a demand for new technology. If there was an interested member of Congress, someone that saw the need or had been approached by law enforcement, if someone proposed funding for another technology program then we would maybe see this opportunity return.”

The Future of Surveillance Grants

There are other possibilities for agencies to get COPS funding for technology, however. COPS had a school safety grant program that provides funding for technology items related to securing schools. Surveillance systems in schools became a very popular item in the wake of highly publicized school shootings, he said.  

Now, “for the agencies still interested in surveillance, we’d tell them to partner with schools because there was still money in our schools programs to get that.” Additionally a $150 million comprehensive school safety program has been proposed. These grants would go toward anything related to school safety. 

The DOJ is cataloging and creating a database to search COPS applications by the type of technology grants were applied for and used to purchase. 

1 report cite this report:

Anti-Terrorism Video Surveillance Bad at Fighting Crime on May 16, 2016
So much of city video surveillance has been deployed and funded with the intention of stopping, or at least mitigating, terrorist attacks. But...
Comments (13) : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on Funding

$25 Million US COPS SVPP School Security Funding Examined on Jul 24, 2018
The US Congress has authorized the School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP) to fund various security measures and training to mitigate active...
Directory of Video Surveillance Startups on Jul 18, 2018
This directory provides a list of video surveillance startups to help you see and research what companies are new or not yet broadly known entity...
Arecont Acquisition By Costar on Jul 11, 2018
Arecont Vision acquisition by Costar Technologies has been approved by the court, concluding the bankruptcy process triggered by Arecont's...
Cybersecurity Startup VDOO Disclosing 10 Manufacturer Vulnerabilities Starting With Axis And Foscam on Jun 20, 2018
Cybersecurity startup VDOO has uncovered significant vulnerabilities in Axis cameras along with many others not yet disclosed. In this report, we...
Netwatch / NMC Mega Deal Targets Global Remote Video Monitoring on Apr 27, 2018
Big money has entered the remote video monitoring market. While remote video monitoring has been done for more than a decade, the market has...
Rare Video Surveillance Fundraising - Verkada $15 Million on Apr 19, 2018
Fundraising in video surveillance (and the broader physical security market) has been poor recently. Highlights are few and far in between...
3VR Firesale to Identiv on Feb 07, 2018
A decade ago, 3VR raised more than $60 million to deliver facial surveillance and video analytics in a '3rd generation' video recorder. Now, 3VR...
Dahua's Car Manufacturer Raises $63 Million on Feb 01, 2018
Not only has Dahua's car manufacturer raised $63 million USD, one of the best VCs in the world led the round. Is Dahua's car manufacturer ready to...
The 2018 Surveillance Industry Guide on Jan 16, 2018
The 300 page, 2018 Video Surveillance Industry Guide, covering the key events and the future of the video surveillance market, is now available,...
Honeywell Crowdfunding Bombs on Nov 08, 2017
100,000+ employees and $40,000,000,000 in annual revenue. That's Honeywell. ~200 backers and ~$67,000 in funding in a week. That's Honeywell...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Cut Milestone Licensing Costs 80% By Using Hikvision and Dahua NVRs (Tested) on Aug 13, 2018
Enterprise VMS licensing can be quite expensive, with $200 or more per channel common, meaning a 100 camera system can cost $20,000 in VMS...
Nortek Sues SDS, Battle Over Unpaid Bill and Cancelled Lines on Aug 13, 2018
Nortek and SDS legal battle continues. As IPVM reported, SDS sued Nortek alleging bribery and antitrust violation. However, Wave fired back at SDS,...
Uniview Intrusion Analytics and VMD Tested on Aug 13, 2018
IPVM's IP Camera Analytics Shootout featuring Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision created some ill will with a Uniview distributor who...
ADT Employees Protest ADT CEO on Aug 10, 2018
So many ADT employees were so upset with ADT's CEO speech reported on by IPVM, that ADT's CEO was forced to send a mass email to employees to...
Axis / Avigilon Legal Battle Rises on Aug 09, 2018
In what is shaping up to be high-powered, will-not-back-down battle, Axis and Avigilon are squaring off in multiple legal contests. In 2017, IPVM...
Camera Focusing Tutorial on Aug 09, 2018
A camera's focus is fundamental to quality imaging. Mistakes can cause important problems. In this guide, we explain focus issues and proper...
Dahua Ban Response: NOT Chinese Government Owned on Aug 08, 2018
Dahua has responded to the US Congress passing a US government ban on Dahua and Hikvision's products. While Dahua offered the now standard...
Bad Move: ADT Markets Rival Amazon on Aug 08, 2018
Amazon may be lining up ADT as its next victim but ADT is happy to promote Amazon. Amazon has made major moves recently, including acquiring...
Hikvision PanoVu Mini Tested (Multi-imager + PTZ For ~$500) on Aug 07, 2018
Hikvision has released their first PanoVu Mini multi imager, the PanoVu DS-2PT3326IZ-DE3, with four 1080p imagers, including a PTZ and integrated...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact