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The Mexico–United States border, known as the southwest border (SWB), extends nearly 2,000 miles, is the tenth-longest border between two countries in the world, and is the most frequently crossed. Small, rural, and tribal law enforcement agencies located on the SWB face limited staffing and resources while also having to traverse a variety of terrains—from rural areas to deserts—in order to enforce immigration rules, prevent violent crime, and protect the safety of U.S. citizens.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) SWB Rural Law Enforcement Assistance Program is an innovative new initiative designed to provide resources to small, rural, and tribal law enforcement agencies along or near the SWB of the United States in order to support efforts in addressing precipitous increases of all types of crime unique to this region, including human trafficking, sexual assaults, extorsion, gang activity, murder, drug trafficking, and other forms of violent crime.

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Program Purpose

The purposes for the awards under this program are to:

  • Improve the agency’s investigative, intelligence, and/or interdiction capabilities;
  • Enhance information sharing, including investigative and intelligence data sharing with other agencies;
  • Enable agencies to participate in projects within the Southern Border states;
  • Assist in projects/initiatives unique to an agency or its region; and/or
  • Improve dedicated communications capabilities.

Available Funding

Funding is available through a subaward process. The subaward is a federal award provided by a pass-through entity, the Institute for Intergovernmental Research (IIR), to a subrecipient, your agency, by which funding is made available through a reimbursement process. Law enforcement agencies along the SWB may request funding for equipment and items that support the program purposes outlined above—including, but not limited to, K-9 unit support (e.g., K-9s, training for K-9s, K-9 maintenance, and vehicle modifications for a K-9 unit); technology, such as license plate readers; and other requests for assistance. Refer to the Application for a list of eligible items.

Items normally provided by a law enforcement agency in the course of its mission are not included in this program; for example, vehicles, weapons, uniforms, radios, and other standard-issue items.

Agencies are guided to only request funding for the specific amount needed to obtain the requested item(s). Requests cannot exceed $150,000 per agency. For as long as funding is available, agencies may submit one or more applications—however, the combined requested amount cannot exceed the $150,000 cap. For example, the total amount a group of interdiction teams under one law enforcement agency can request combined is $150,000 for the entire agency.

Eligibility and Requirements

Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements to be considered for this program:

  • Must be a small, rural, or tribal law enforcement agency located within the SWB states of Arizona, California, New Mexico, or Texas and have a population size of 100,000 or less. Priority consideration will be given to law enforcement agencies located on or near the Southwest Border.
  • The purpose for the application must meet the program purposes outlined above.
  • The application submitted should only request those items that are eligible and not listed in the noncovered items described in Available Funding section above.
  • Have permission from the agency’s governing authority to receive the award.
  • If applicable, be able to provide law enforcement staff members with the necessary training on the use and implementation of purchased equipment or systems.
  • Be able to comply with post-award reporting requirements.

Applicants must meet the above eligibility requirements, submit a completed application, and provide timely follow-up documentation, if requested.

As previously stated, it is imperative that the agency has the appropriate approvals from their governing body to accept an award under this program. Also, if selected, the agency must comply with post-award reporting requirements.

Post-Award Reporting Requirements: Award recipients will be contacted by a representative from IIR to gather information regarding the implementation and benefit to the agency for BJA reporting purposes and to also promote successful implementations to the law enforcement field. Recipient agencies are required to submit responses to IIR—or allow a phone interview to be performed—in order to share the details of the implementation as well as identify any benefit to the entity and the administration of justice and public safety.

Review Process

Applications are pre-screened for eligibility and completeness. Applicants will be contacted to ensure that missing information is completed prior to BJA consideration. Eligible and completed applications are forwarded to BJA for review and approval.

BJA is committed to ensuring a fair and open process for making awards. Submitting an application does not guarantee selection. BJA will evaluate each application to ensure that it fits within the scope of this program and is congruent with the items covered, applicant eligibility, and the availability of funding. BJA may require additional information from the applicant to make an award decision. BJA will send a notification to the applicant agency of its decision to award or not award the funding.

Applications will be accepted until funding is no longer available. It is important to consider the review and funding time line prior to applying.

Application and Award Time Line

Receipt of Application Notification
72 hours

Application Review
Up to 60 days
following the receipt of additional information requested by BJA

Delivery of Funds
Up to 30 days
following the receipt of paid invoices and approval by IIR