Is your department ready if Executive Order 14074 activities become grant-funding requirements? By:

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By Alyson Trowbridge

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On June 3, 2024, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued guidance to grant recipients and subrecipients pertaining to Executive Order 14074: Advancing Effective, Accountable Policing and Criminal Justice Practices to Enhance Public Trust and Public Safety (hereafter referred to as “Executive Order” or “EO”). This guidance included potential implications for future discretionary funding award recipients in Fiscal Year 2025 (FY25), dictating its importance and relevance to law enforcement agencies seeking upcoming grant funding through FEMA, DHS’s grant-making agency.

Background:

Executive Order 14074 was issued on May 25, 2022 by President Biden following the in-custody death of George Floyd exactly two years earlier. The intent behind the Executive Order was as follows:

  • Ensuring Federal Law Enforcement Accountability;
  • Minimizing Use of Force;
  • Reducing Unnecessary Interactions with Law Enforcement;
  • Promoting Accountability in State and Local Law Enforcement (to include awarding federal grants in a manner that supports accountable local policing and restricting military equipment for law enforcement);
  • Using Data to Understand Police Performance; and
  • Supporting Officer Wellness and Success.

The Executive Order required the Secretary of Homeland Security to “review and exercise their authority, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, to award Federal discretionary grants in a manner that supports and promotes the adoption of policies of this order by State, Tribal, local, and territorial governments and LEAs [law enforcement agencies].” Areas of consideration included, but were not limited to, policies, guidelines, and best practices surrounding topics such as in-custody death investigation, recruitment and retention of qualified and diverse law enforcement professionals, data collection and reporting on use of force and misconduct, improving community relations, restrictions and certain restraints on no-knock warrants and the ban on chokeholds, responsible use of law enforcement technology, restricting the use of militarized equipment, officer wellness and mental health, implicit bias, responding to individuals with disabilities or those experiencing mental health crisis, and overall criminal justice reform.

While law enforcement grantees have since been encouraged to adopt and enforce the standards and policies pertaining to the EO 14074, thus far there have been limited broad-stroke restrictions on receiving federal discretionary funding through FEMA beyond individual grant program stipulations as outlined within their Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) pertaining to eligibility and/or controlled or unallowable expenditures.

Applicability:

While FEMA acts as DHS’s managing entity for a variety of grant programs, it is their Preparedness Grants that have the most applicability to local, state, territorial, and tribal (SLTT) law enforcement agencies. These Preparedness Grants support DHS/FEMA’s mission to build, sustain, and improve the nation’s ability to prepare, protect, respond, recover, and mitigate terrorism and other high-consequence situations. Discretionary grant programs most relevant to law enforcement agencies included within the Preparedness suite are the Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP), including the State Homeland Security Program (SHSP), Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) and Operation Stonegarden (OPSG), the Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program (THSGP), Tribal Cybersecurity Grant Program (TCGP), State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program (SLCGP), and the Port Security Grant Program (PSGP), although additional programs fall within the Preparedness Grants umbrella.

As announced in the recently issued guidance through DHS/FEMA (June 2024), the consideration is being made as to the required adoption of the below activities in support of the Executive Order to support safe and effective policing for law enforcement applicants across FEMA’s discretionary programs:

1. Follow best practices issued by the Department of Justice for investigating deaths in custody, including having specific policies and procedures in place to ensure the independence and transparency of investigations and notifications regarding deaths in custody.

2. Comply with the restrictions on the possession and use of militarized equipment consistent with the Executive Order.

3. Have in place policies for no-knock entries and the use of force equivalent to, or which exceed, the requirements of the policies issued by Department of Justice, respectively, on September 13, 2021 and May 20, 2022.

4. For agencies that have or are acquiring body-worn camera, have in place policies equivalent to, or which exceed, the requirements of the policies issued by Department of Justice on June 7, 2021.

5. Deliver annual training on implicit bias to sworn law enforcement personnel consistent with the Executive Order.

6. Adhere to grant requirements under Title VI VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. sec. 2000d et seq., and of the nondiscrimination provisions of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, 34 U.S.C. sec. 10228.

7. Submit data to the FBI’s National Use-of-Force Data Collection and FBI’s Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted Data Collection.

8. Encourage officer wellness (e.g., support for substance use disorders, mental health issues, trauma resilience, and suicide prevention) through internal policies and procedures.

9. Have a written directive that requires a background investigation of each candidate for officer positions conducted before appointment. These should include, consistent with First Amendment rights and all applicable laws, a check of publicly available internet and information-sharing sites to identify activity that promotes or supports unlawful violence B-3 or unlawful bias against persons based on actual or perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability.

Although DHS/FEMA is still in the exploratory phase of mandating formal adoption of the above standards for law enforcement grant recipients in FY25, agencies who have not already adopted these standards should strongly consider doing so in advance of the new fiscal year to ensure they are not displaced from accessing DHS/FEMA federal funds in the upcoming cycle, which will begin on October 1, 2024. If anything, compliance with the above standards, regardless of its inclusion as a formal federal grant requirement, will better position an agency to obtain these competitive funds.

For Grant Assistance, the Lexipol team is ready to assist your agency prepare for, apply to, and secure these competitive discretionary funds. Let us build a custom grants solution for you by reaching out to our team today!