Justice Department debuts streamlined tribal grants
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Justice has awarded a round of new funding under the “Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation Grants” banner to hundreds of tribes with the intent of improving the safety of tribal citizens.
In a ceremony at the National Museum of the American Indian held Sept. 15, Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli announced $127 million in funding to tribes under the new CTAS program.
Perrelli said it was fitting to make the announcements at a “groundbreaking” facility like NMAI, since the CTAS awards involve a “first-of-its-kind collaboration.”
He explained the origins of the program: “In the department’s outreach to tribal leaders, we heard concern that the department’s grant-making process was too cumbersome, but at the same time it did not allow tribal communities the flexibility to fully address their needs. CTAS was launched in direct response to those concerns.”
He said CTAS encourages local collaboration and coordination on public safety and justice planning, and noted that it combines the application process for tribes seeking federal grants for public safety.
In a first for the department, the program allowed tribes to submit a single application for most tribal Justice Department grant programs.
“On their single applications, tribes could select multiple purpose areas, ranging from juvenile justice to violence against women,” Perrelli said. “This approach not only saves time and resources but also allows tribes and the department to gain a better understanding of overall public safety needs.”
He said in 2010, the department received 237 CTAS applications, covering 10 public safety purpose areas. In all 10 purpose areas combined, Justice received a total of 720 individual funding requests.
“To put it simply, tribes submitted more than 200 applications, which included more than 700 funding requests. In contrast, in 2009, tribes submitted 540 individual
purpose-area applications. That’s 540 applications for 540 funding requests. And, in many cases, that meant that an overworked service provider or dedicated public safety officer was entering the same information into separate applications. And that meant, in past years, they were filling out paperwork instead of filling the needs of their citizens.
“By streamlining the process, CTAS has resulted in more applications for a more diverse group of grants. Although the department still only has a limited pot of money, so we were not able to fund all the need in tribal communities, more participation in more areas ultimately leads to more federal assistance where it is needed most.”
Perrelli added that CTAS is not just about a more streamlined process. “It is part of the department’s broader strategy of increased engagement with tribal communities across a broad range of areas.”
Bernard Melekian, director of Community Oriented Policing Services at Justice, also discussed the announcement the same day at the National Native American Law Enforcement Association’s 18th Annual National Training Conference in Las Vegas.
A full list of awardees is available online at www.tribaljusticeandsafety.gov.