(1) What is the retention requirement?
Answer: Under the COPS Hiring Recovery Program (CHRP), the retention requirement establishes that grant recipients will plan to and retain officer positions awarded following the conclusion of the grant award period. According to Section 42 U.S.C. § 3796dd-1(c)(8) of the Public Safety Partnership and Community Policing Act of 1994: “If the application is for a grant for hiring or rehiring additional career law enforcement officers, specify plans for the assumption by the applicant of a progressively larger share of the cost in the course of time, looking toward the continuation of the increased hiring level using state or local sources of funding following the conclusion of federal support.” The COPS Office has established a requirement to plan to retain during the life of the grant and actual retention of each officer position upon expiration of grant funding for each position.
COPS-funded positions must be retained for at least one year (12 months) beyond the conclusion of federal funding. The retained positions must be in addition to the number of locally funded positions that would otherwise have existed without federal funding. This requirement helps to ensure a long-term increase in the number of sworn officer positions serving the community. These additional positions must be retained using state, local, or other non-federal funding. You may not use attrition to meet the retention requirement.
(2) Does my agency have to certify that it will retain positions awarded if it applies for COPS Hiring Recovery Program funds?
Answer: Yes, at the time of grant application, your agency must affirm that it plans to retain the positions and identify the planned source(s) of retention funding. We understand that your agency’s source(s) of retention funding may change during the life of the grant. Your agency should maintain explanatory documentation of any changes in the event of an audit, monitoring or other evaluation of your grant compliance.
CHRP grantees are required to retain all officer positions awarded for at
least one year from the time that the 36 months of grant funding for each
CHRP position expires. The additional officer positions should be added to
your agency’s law enforcement budget with state and/or local funds, over
and above the number of locally-funded officer positions that would have
existed in the absence of the grant. Absorbing CHRP-funded officers through
attrition (rather than adding the extra positions to your budget with
additional funding) does not meet the retention requirement.
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(1) How long must my agency retain the officer positions?
Answer: Your agency must retain each awarded position(s) for at least one year (12 months) after each position has fulfilled the 36-month (three-year) grant funding period.
(2) When does the actual retention period begin?
Answer: The actual retention period begins after each awarded position(s) has completed the 36-month (three-year) grant funding period.
(3) When does the 36-month grant award period begin for each awarded officer position?
Answer: There is a standard grant award period. The grant has a start and end date; however, the actual 36-month period begins for an awarded officer position when that position has been filled. If the position becomes vacant during the award period, your agency must hire a new, additional officer to fill the position. The retention period begins for an awarded officer position once that position has completed the 36-month implementation period. If an agency is awarded several officer positions, the retention period for each individual officer position begins based on the completion of 36 months of funding for each position (not based on the cumulative overall grant award end date).
(4) When does my agency have to begin funding the position(s) in the local budget?
Answer: Your agency should fund the awarded officer position(s) in
your local budget as each position completes the 36-month grant period. If a
funded position becomes vacant during the award period, your agency would
need to fill the position with a new, additional officer to complete the
entire 36-month grant period before retaining and adding the position into
the local budget.
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Answer: If a position becomes vacant during the retention period, your agency is required to take active and timely steps consistent with your agency’s hiring policy and procedures to fill the position with a new, additional officer to complete the fulfillment of the retention requirement. Your agency should maintain documentation demonstrating that your agency did not delay filling the officer position and that the steps your agency took to fill the position were consistent with your agency’s hiring policy and procedures.
(2) What if my agency determines prior to the end of the grant period that, because of severe fiscal distress, we will not be able to retain the positions?
Answer: If your agency becomes aware prior to the end of the grant period that it will be unable to retain the awarded position(s) because of severe fiscal distress, you must submit a letter to the COPS Office requesting a retention exemption. If it is prior to the last quarter of the grant period, please call the COPS Response Center at 1-800-421-6770 and ask to speak to your agency’s Grant Program Specialist for further guidance.
(3) What documentation does my agency need to provide if it requests a retention exemption?
Answer: To qualify for an exemption, your agency must demonstrate, with supporting documentation, two key points.
1. That your agency did plan for retention. Documents that might demonstrate an agency’s intent to retain the CHRP-funded positions following the conclusion of funding for each position might include, but are not limited to, council meeting minutes, local government memoranda and/or future budget projections that demonstrate an agency’s intent to add the funded positions to its local budget and attempts to seek additional law enforcement funding for the positions.
2. That your agency is unable to implement its retention plan as a result of severe fiscal distress, natural disaster or other mitigating circumstances. The criteria can be found in the COPS Grant Monitoring Standards and Guidelines (Revised July 2001, Page 22).
(4) What will happen if my agency is no longer able to retain during the retention period?
Answer: If your agency retains the officer positions at the beginning of the retention period but then determines that it cannot complete the full 12-month retention period, it must request a retention exemption for the remainder of the retention period following the same procedures described above.
(5) What will happen if my agency is only able to retain some but not all of the awarded positions?
Answer: If your agency is only able to retain some of the awarded
positions, you must submit a letter to your Grant Program Specialist
requesting an exemption from the retention requirement.
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(1) If my agency does receive a retention exemption, what impact will this have on our ability to receive additional COPS grant funds??
Answer: If your agency meets both criteria listed above during the last quarter of the grant period, the COPS Office will exempt it from retention (specific to the grant in question). Your agency will not be eligible for any additional new COPS grant funding that contains a retention requirement for a one-year period, referred to as a “waiting period.” The one-year waiting period will begin at the end of the 36-month funding period, when the retention requirement would have begun. However, your agency may complete implementation of any existing grants.
(2) What will happen if my agency applies for but does not receive an exemption, but we still do not retain the positions?
Answer: If your agency does not retain the positions following the
36-month funding period and the COPS Office determines that it did not meet
the exemption criteria, it will be in violation of the retention
requirement. As a result, your agency will be barred from receiving any and
all COPS grants (regardless of whether there is a retention requirement) for
a period of three years from the date of notification. All agencies barred
from receiving new COPS grants based on violations of the retention
requirement will receive a Notice of Noncompliance, which will also specify
the exact dates of the three-year bar period.
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(1) What documentation does my agency need to maintain in the event of an audit or monitoring site visit to demonstrate compliance with the retention requirement?
Answer: Your agency should maintain documentation demonstrating
its intent to retain the CHRP-funded officer positions, the anticipated
funding source(s), the dates of employment under the CHRP grant, and the
dates each officer position started the retention period.
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Please call the COPS Office Response Center at 1-800-421-6770.