COPS designed the Advancing Community Policing (ACP) program to help law enforcement agencies further develop an infrastructure to institutionalize and sustain community policing. COPS announced two categories of ACP grants in 1997: Organizational Change and Community Policing Demonstration Centers.
Organizational Change grants helped local law enforcement agencies reexamine their business practices to align them better with community policing philosophies. These grants then helped agencies overcome organizational-level obstacles to create an atmosphere in which community policing thrives. Applicants were required to have a solid background in community policing, and to focus their ACP grant proposals on changing one of the following elements of their organizations:
A few agencies across the country have taken the lead in implementing the philosophies of community policing throughout their organizations. They are active community policing laboratories, testing and retesting community policing strategies. Part of COPS mission to advance community policing is to help those agencies disseminate information and assistance to other organizations. These agencies served as Community Policing Demonstration Centers. A Community Policing Demonstration Center works through internal and external efforts to perfect accepted community policing strategies and experiment with new ideas to map the future of community policing. Applicants were required to have a multi-year strategic community policing plan already in place.
Both categories of ACP grant required applicants to submit detailed Project Narratives that addressed specific aspects of the proposed plan.